Smacking should be banned in France, says law head

Smacking or slapping children should be seen as an act of violence and be banned, authorities have said

Smacking your child should soon be legally banned in France, according to national legal authority head, Le Défenseur des Droits, Jacques Toubon.

This week, on the International Day of the Child (Monday November 19), Mr Toubon announced his wish that all forms of violence against children should be banned.

In his annual report on children’s rights, Mr Toubon said: “We must vote in a clause that says that any smacking, correction or slap is an act of violence, and it is forbidden just like any other form of violence.”

He added that this would “raise public awareness of [the benefits of a] caring and positive education, as well as of the consequences of violence of all kinds on children, whether physical or psychological”.

Mr Toubon’s report and recommendations come ahead of a similar proposal - dubbed “the anti-smack bill” - that is set to be discussed in the Assemblée Nationale next week.

The proposal, against “ordinary educational violence”, is set to be discussed on Thursday November 29, after its expected evaluation by legislation authority La Commission des Lois the day before.

This is not the first time officials have attempted to ban smacking in French law; a previous attempt took place in January 2017.

But the French constitutional authority Le Conseil Constitutionnel did not allow the ban to go through at that time, because it judged that the proposal had no justifiable link to its then-place within the Equality and Citizenship Act (known in French as la “Loi Égalité et Citoyenneté").

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