World Facts

Countries Where Child Corporal Punishment is Illegal

Human Rights Watch estimated that about 90% of the countries in the world have made corporal punishment for children illegal.

By definition, children corporal punishment refers to a punishment that causes a child physical pain, whether it is in a home or in a school setting. As of 2014, Human Rights Watch estimated that about 90% of the countries in the world had made corporal punishment for children illegal. Here is an overview of countries where corporal punishment for children is illegal. 

Countries Where Child Corporal Punishment Is Illegal

Nordic countries were the first to illegalize children corporal punishment starting with Sweden in 1966, Finland in 1969, and then Norway in 1972. Austria was the only other country to do so before 1980. On the other end of the spectrum, Kosovo and France only did it in 2019. Nepal was the only country to do so in 2018 while Lithuania was the only one in 2017.

Sweden

Sweden was the first country to outlaw children corporal punishment in 1966 although school corporal punishment was banned much earlier in 1958. Interestingly, the 1966 ban did not explicitly ban parents from punishing their children. The explicit ban on parents came later on in 1979. According to the law, corporal punishment does not have any legal consequences unless it is assault.

Finland

Just like Sweden above, corporal punishment for children in school was banned earlier than corporal punishment for children from parents. However, the ban on school corporal punishment was in 1914 (much earlier than Sweden) while parents were banned from children corporal punishment in 1969. The initial ban still allowed for parents chastising their children before that was removed as well in 1983 in an explicit manner.

France

One thing to note about France is that it already bans violence towards children under the French penal code. However, an amendment of the code in the 19th century allowed parents to discipline their children. The new law in 2019 bans parents from punishing their children although parents that break these new rules are unlikely to face criminal charges. The new legislation is in line with international treaties on children's rights.

Kosovo

Kosovo became the 55th nation in the world to ban child corporal punishment. This ban was the culmination of a six-year journey by children rights organizations who were advocating for the ban. The law, which was passed on June 27 of this year, is called the Child Protection Law and grants all the children protection from emotional and physical abuse.

Types of corporal punishment

Corporal punishment can be classified into three types namely in the home, school, and in judicial systems. Most European countries have banned all three types although they still exist in countries in other continents such as Asia and Africa.

Countries Where Child Corporal Punishment is Illegal

Rank´╗┐CountryYear of Law
1Sweden1966
2Finland1969
3Norway1972
4Austria1977
5Denmark1985
6Portugal1994
7Cyprus1994
8Italy1996
9Poland1997
10Latvia1998
11Germany1998
12Croatia1999
13Bulgaria2000
14Israel2000
15Turkmenistan2002
16Iceland2003
17Ukraine2004
18Hungary2005
19Greece2006
20Netherlands2007
21New Zealand2007
22Uruguay2007
23Venezuela2007
24Chile2007
25Spain2007
26Togo2007
27Costa Rica2008
28Moldova2008
29Luxembourg2008
30Liechtenstein2008
31Tunisia2010
32Kenya2010
33Republic of the Congo2010
34Albania2010
35South Sudan2011
36North Macedonia2013
37Cabo Verde2013
38Honduras2013
39Malta2014
40Brazil2014
41Bolivia2014
42Argentina2014
43San Marino2014
44Nicaragua2014
45Estonia2014
46Andorra2014
47Benin2015
48Ireland2015
49Peru2015
50Mongolia2016
51Montenegro2016
52Paraguay2016
53Aruba2016
54Slovenia2016
55Lithuania2017
56Nepal2018
57Kosovo2019
58France2019

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