It's voted! Spanking is now prohibited by French law

Spanking, slapping and more generally all corporal punishment are now prohibited in France following the vote of the National Assembly in the night of Friday 1er to Saturday July 2, 2016. This amendment is part of the “Equality and Citizenship” bill. It specifies the terms of parental authority as follows: "the exclusion of any cruel, degrading or humiliating treatment, including any recourse to bodily violence".

LFrance is late on the subject, since spanking is already banned in 27 countries in Europe and 44 around the world. For some, it is a law already quite old: 1979 for Sweden, 1983 for Finland or 1987 for Norway. A delay that has not gone unnoticed since since 2006, the United Nations have asked France to ban corporal punishment within the family. Last year, in March 2015, France was once again seized by the Council of Europe because of its lack of law on so-called “educational” violence.

As Marie-Anne Chapdelaine, François-Michel Lambert and Édith Gueugneau explain, this is a considerable issue which also aims to question the trivialization of ordinary educational violence (VEO):

“Public opinion is regularly shocked by the death of a child at the hands of his parents. If, fortunately, domestic violence does not always kill, specialists are unanimous on the damage it causes to the children who are its victims ”

However, the penalties relating to this ban have not yet been established:

“The rule laid down is of an exclusively civil nature and is not accompanied by any new penal sanction against the parents. It sets out a clear principle, which is intended to be repeated to fathers and mothers, and to permeate their future behavior ”.

A measure not always well understood by the French who claim their right to spanking. However, as Olivier Maurel, founder of the Observatory of Ordinary Educational Violence (OVEO), points out, this law prohibits nothing more than “what is already prohibited for women and the elderly. And a child has no way of defending himself ”. “Every violence has consequences,” says Dr Lazimi.

“It has been accepted in France for millennia that we can hit children. But just because we did it before doesn't mean we have to continue! From now on, we will clearly say that any blow to a child is violence that should not be used within the family: thanks to the law, we will move the tolerance of society. "" 50% of parents start hitting their children before 2 years old, 85% before 5 years old. And the more they are convinced that it is profitable, because they themselves suffered it as children, the earlier and more violently they strike. You have to explain to parents that you can have authority without going through violence, ”continues Dr Lamizi.

A measure that is intended to be more educational than punitive:

"It is not a question of making guilty:" 90% of parents are not abusive and do not want harm. But the remaining 10%, due to the lack of a threshold, will slide. "

According to INSERM, in France, 730 children die each year from abuse. In Sweden, where corporal punishment has been banned since 1979, there are 3 deaths per year.

Elodie Crepin

See also: What do the scriptures say about spanking and ordinary educational violence?

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