French say “non” to smacking ban

What French parents think of Council of Europe’s call for ban on smacking

Newspaper survey finds that seven out of 10 people do not want the “fessée” to be outlawed

AN OVERWHELMING majority of people in France would be against a ban on smacking, a survey has found.

Earlier this month, the Council of Europe criticised France for not having a ban on smacking, saying that the country does not have “clear, obligatory and precise rules banning corporal punishment”.

Europe’s top human rights court wants the smacking of children banned right across the continent. It says that smacking is “ineffective, conveys the wrong message, and can cause serious physical and mental harm” and is a “violation of their human rights.”

But seven out of 10 French people are opposed to the idea of a ban, an Ifop poll for Le Figaro found.

Men are less likely to support a ban, the poll found. Only 27% said they approved of the idea, compared to 33% of women.

Front National supporters were most strongly opposed against the idea, with 79% of those who took part in the study saying they did not want corporal punishment banned, compared to 74% of UMP voters and 64% of Socialist Party voters.

Secretary of State for Family, Laurence Rossignol, called for "collective thinking" to examine "the value of corporal punishment in the education of children”.

There were several attempts last year by ministers and activists in France to change the law.

In May last year, a smacking ban was postponed indefinitely after lawmakers refused to debate the bill.

Under French law, violence against a child is outlawed, but it does allow for a “right of correction” of children by family members. In 2013, however, a father was fined for hitting his son.

The debate has rumbled on for years. In 2009, an MP called for a ban on smacking. And, last year, a graphic video supporting a ban on smacking caused outrage when it was broadcast on TV.

In 1999, France signed up to the European Social Charter, which is consistently interpreted as prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment of children, and has also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which similarly requires prohibition of any form of physical punishment of children by parents, carers, teachers or others.

Photo: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R79742 / Wikimedia Commons

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