Now spanking is officially prohibited by French law

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

France is late on the subject, since spanking is already banned in 27 countries in Europe and 44 in 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 asked France to ban corporal punishment within the family. Last year, in March 2015, France had once again been seized by the Council of Europe because of its lack of legislation concerning so-called “educational” violence.

As explained by Marie-Anne Chapdelaine, François-Michel Lambert and Edith Gueugneau, this is a considerable challenge that also aims to challenge the trivialization of ordinary educational violence (VEO):

Public opinion is regularly shocked by the death of a child under the blows of his parents. If, fortunately, intra-family violence does not always kill, specialists are unanimous about the damage they cause to children who are the victims “

However, the sanctions relating to this prohibition are not yet 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 meant 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), reminds us, this law prohibits nothing more than “what is already prohibited for women and the elderly. And a child has no way to defend himself. ” “Every violence has consequences,” says Dr. Lazimi.

“It’s admitted in France for millennia that we can hit children. But it’s not because we did it before we have to continue! From now on, it will be clear that any blow to a child is a violence that must 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, 85% before 5 years old. And the more they are convinced that it is profitable, because they have suffered themselves as children, the more they strike early and violently. You have to explain to parents that you can have authority without going through violence, “says Dr. Lamizi.

A measure that is more educational than punitive: “It’s not about guilt:” 90% of parents are not abusive and do not want harm. But the remaining 10%, because of the lack of threshold, will slip. “

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

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