France Just Made Spanking Illegal

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Jan 2017
Toddler girl crying
Photo: Getty Images

For the disciplining parent, tough love can take many different forms—but in France, it better be hands-off. The French Parliament recently voted to pass a bill to help end violence against children, including corporal punishment, like spanking.

The Equality and Citizenship bill, passed last month, says parental authority must exclude “any cruel, degrading or humiliating treatment, including corporal punishment.”

While child abuse was already illegal in France, this bill incorporates all corporal punishment, making it a civil offense.

France isn’t the first to ban corporal punishment of children. Sweden led the way in 1979. Since then, 51 countries have joined the list.

While the United States doesn’t have an explicit ban, a Pediatrics study found that middle-income American parents are using physical discipline less frequently than ever, down to 21 percent from 46 percent in 1988.

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