France will become the 52nd nation in the world to ban spanking inside the home, with a new law precluding parents from using “cruel, degrading, or humiliating” forms of punishment.
Spanking — also known as corporal punishment — wouldn’t carry with it any criminal charges, as it will be considered a civil offense, but the French government believes the mostly symbolic change, which passed parliament last month, sends an important message to the public, according to the Huffington Post.
The provision was included in France’s Equality and Citizenship Bill, which was passed just before Christmas; the text about humiliation and “corporal violence” was part of article 68, which also decries “verbal and psychological violence.”
The ban will reportedly be read at civil weddings and will be included in documents pertaining to the family.
“This law is a very strong symbolic act to make parents understand just how all violence can be harmful for the child,” Dr. Gilles Lazimi, who heads an anti-spanking campaign in France, told the Telegraph. “Above all, it removes the notion of a threshold: there is no small or big violence. There is violence, full stop.”
It’s an interesting change, considering some of the statistics coming out of French society, with the Telegraph reporting that a recent poll found that 85 percent of French parents smack their kids and that 70 percent oppose a total ban on the practice; clearly, the population takes somewhat of a different view from that of its government.
While most of Europe bans spanking, Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Czech Republic do not. Sweden was reportedly the first country to “explicitly prohibit corporal punishment and humiliating treatment of children” back in 1979, according to a statement from Marta Santos Pais, special representative of the U.N . secretary general.
Some inside France have praised the move, though others have said it is a form of government micromanagement.
A mata-analysis of 50 years of research into the matter recently found that spanking kids can actually lead to a variety of problems, including mental health issues, cognitive difficulties, anti-social behavior and increased defiance, according to the University of Texas at Austin.
(H/T: Huffington Post)
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