In most of Europe today,
society tolerates and even approves some recurrent forms of violence against
children, in particular those inflicted in the family setting.
No religion, belief, economic situation or "educational" method can
ever justify hitting, smacking, spanking, mutilating, abusing, humiliating,
or any other practice that violates a child's dignity. It is internationally
recognised in human rights law that children have a right to protection from
all forms of violence, including corporal punishment in all settings (home,
school, penal systems, alternative care).
One third of Council of Europe member states have made corporal punishment
illegal and a number of others
are committed to legal reform. But despite these
positive developments, corporal punishment remains lawful in most countries
and is still perceived as an acceptable form of "discipline",
in particular in the home.
Lawfulness of corporal punishment is also contrary to the right of children
to equal protection under the law.
Abolishing corporal punishment of children calls for action at different
levels. It requires comprehensive changes in legislation and new policy
measures to ensure proper implementation and guidance for those working with
children and families. It also requires comprehensive awareness raising to
inform the public about children's human rights and to change attitudes and
On 15 June in Zagreb, Croatia, the Council of Europe launched its
corporal punishment of children.
signature against smacking
of celebrities who support the ban on corporal punishment of children
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and information packs (click here for all documents, including campaign
punishment and positive parenting
reports on corporal punishment in Europe (online appendices to the book Eliminating corporal punishment - A human rights imperative