FRANCE: Results of corporal punishment 'ban' not certain

Lawmakers in France have banned physical violence against children, with the passing of the Equality and Citizenship bill. Thanks to an amendment agreed in December there is now a ban on "all cruel, degrading or humiliating treatment, including any recourse to corporal violence".

While some campaigners and experts have welcomed the move, it remains to be seen whether the final wording of the law will prevent parents from physically punishing their children, as the law refers to “corporal violence”, rather than all forms of corporal punishment.

What’s more, given that violence against children is already an offence under the French penal code, and judges in the country have been notoriously hesitant to treat corporal punishment as a form of violence against children, the amendment may have little or no effect on the legality of corporal punishment.

The entry into force of the law has also been delayed by a constitutional challenge to unrelated provisions in the law.


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