The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its General Comment No. 8 (2006), defines corporal or physical punishment as “any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light”. According to the Committee, this mostly involves hitting (“smacking”, “slapping”, “spanking”) children with the hand or with an implement (a whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, or similar) but it can also involve, for example, kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing ears, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion (for example, washing children’s mouths out with soap or forcing them to swallow hot spices). Non-physical forms of punishment that are cruel and degrading and thus incompatible with the Convention include, for example, punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules the child.

Quick Global Facts 

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Global Progress

Corporal punishment has been prohibited in:

Albania (2010)

Andorra (2014)

Argentina (2014)

Austria (1989)

Benin (2015)

Bolivia (2014)

Brazil (2014)

Bulgaria (2000)

Cabo Verde (2013)

Congo (2010)

Costa Rica (2008)

Croatia (1999)

Cyprus (1994)

Denmark (1997)

Estonia (2014)

Finland (1983)

France (2019)

Georgia (2019)

Germany (2000)

Greece (2006)

Guinea (2020)

Honduras (2013)

Hungary (2005)

Iceland (2003)

Ireland (2015)

Israel (2000)

Japan (2020)

Kenya (2010)

Latvia (1998)

Liechtenstein (2008)

Luxembourg (2008)

Lithuania (2017)

Malta (2014)

Mongolia (2016)

Montenegro (2016)

Nepal (2018)

Netherlands (2007)

New Zealand (2007)

Nicaragua (2014)

North Macedonia (2013)

Norway (1987)

Paraguay (2016)

Peru (2015)

Poland (2010)

Portugal (2007)

Republic of Korea (2021)

Republic of Kosovo (2019)

Republic of Moldova (2008)

Romania (2004)

San Marino (2014)

Seychelles (2020)

Slovenia (2016)

South Africa (2019)

South Sudan (2011)

Spain (2007)

Sweden (1979)

Togo (2007)

Tunisia (2010)

Turkmenistan (2002)

Uruguay (2007)

Ukraine (2004)

Venezuela (2007)

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