In a European effort to ban corporal punishment for children at home and in schools, France just became the 52nd country to ban spanking children. The nation joins other European countries including Iceland, Israel, Sweden and Argentina.
The Equality and Citizenship bill—as the spanking law is known as in France—was passed on December 22, 2016, Redbook Mag reports.
"The adoption of this new legislation marks a very important commitment towards the protection from violence of more than 14 million children living in France," said Marta Santos Pais, the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children.
Although those who violate the new law won't face criminal charges, for child protection groups, it's an important step away from an an old disciplinary practice that has proved to do more harm than good, according to multiple studies.
Recent polling suggests that the law won't be quickly embraced; results show the opposite, actually. Seventy percent of adults in France were against a total ban and 85 percent actively use spanking to punish their children, The Telegraph reported. All forms of violence—including physical, verbal and psychological—have been prohibited as well.
"This law is a very strong symbolic act to make parents understand just how all violence can be harmful for children," said Doctor Gilles Lazimi, who drove the anti-spanking cause for the Foundation for Childhood in France.
"Above all, it removes the notion of a threshold: there is no small or big violence. There is violence, full stop," he added.
While this new legislation aligns France with many countires in Europe that have taken on similar legislation, there are four European countries where spanking remains legal, including Britain.
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