[18 March 2014] - Malta has become the latest addition to the list of states achieving prohibition of all corporal punishment of children, including in the home.
An amendment to the Criminal Code enacted in February 2014, means that the infliction of any kind of corporal punishment is a criminal offence. The Code had previously allowed the use of “moderate” corporal punishment. Article 339(1) as amended states (emphasis added):
“Every person is guilty of a contravention against the person who - …
(h) being authorised to correct any other person, exceeds the bounds of moderation:
Provided that, for the avoidance of any doubt, corporal punishment of any kind shall always be deemed to exceed the bounds of moderation.”
Some legislation must still be formally amended to bring it into line with the prohibition of corporal punishment. The Civil Code 1870 states that a parent may be deprived of the rights of parental authority “if the parent, exceeding the bounds of reasonable chastisement, ill-treats the child, or neglects his education” (art. 154), and the Criminal Code includes a reference to “lawful correction” in article 229. In light of the 2014 reform to article 339 of the Criminal Code, these provisions no longer amount to a defence for the use of corporal punishment in childrearing. Nevertheless, they should be amended/repealed so as to achieve absolute consistency in law.
The number of states worldwide to have achieved full prohibition is now 37, including 25 in Europe.
Read a detailed country report on Malta below (attached).