Number of countries introducing legal prohibitions increases

25 March 2014

The number of states around the world that have legal prohibitions against the use of corporal punishment continues to increase steadily.  There are now 37 states that prohibit the use of corporal punishment in all settlings.  Recently Macedonia (36) and Malta (37) have been added to the list.

In Malta, corporal punishment became unlawful in the home under a 2014 amendment to the Criminal Code. Prior to reform, article 339 of the Criminal Code had made it an offence for a person who “being authorised to correct any other person, exceeds the bounds of moderation”, thus allowing the use of “moderate” corporal punishment in childrearing. In February 2014, this article was amended by the Criminal Code (Amendment No. 3) Act 2014 so that a clause was added which states: “Provided that, for the avoidance of any doubt, corporal punishment of any kind shall always be deemed to exceed the bounds of moderation.”  As at March 2014, some legislation must still be formally amended to bring it into line with the prohibition of corporal punishment.

The Global Initiative to End all Corporal Punishment of Children recently published a report “Ending legalized violence against children (Global Report 2013” . This report presents a full picture of progress and delays in achieving worldwide prohibition. The good news is that 5.2% of the world’s children are fully protected and another 68% are protected in some settings.  Unfortunately 30% have no protection at all.  The publication includes a world map showing which countries fully protect, which do so partially and which do not do so at all.  New Zealand stands out at the bottom of the world as a country that fully protects its children.