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France passes law to ban parents smacking kids

No smacking kids, French lawmakers to parents Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Paris, France Nov 30, 2018, 10.35 PM (IST)

Members of the French parliament voted in favour of a ban on parents smacking their children, falling into line with the majority of European Union member states, although there will be no punishment for breaking the law.

The civil code will be updated to state that parental authority must be exercised without violence and that parents may not resort to "physical, verbal or psychological violence, nor to corporal punishment or humiliation".

The ban was approved in a thinly attended National Assembly in a session that began late Thursday evening, with 51 votes in favour, one against and three abstentions.

It reverses parental rights to discipline children using corporal punishment granted under Napoleon in the early 1800s.

"We know that routine violence in child rearing could have its consequences on the child, and also on the adolescent and the adult that he or she will become," said Elsa Faucillon from the Democratic and Republican Left party.

The ban was proposed by France's gender equality minister, Marlene Schiappa, who told Le Parisien newspaper that parents are wrong to believe that shouting, slapping or twisting children's ears are appropriate ways to assert authority.

French First Lady Brigitte Macron also supported the ban, but a few conservative and far-right MPs have condemned it as an interference in families' private lives.

As part of the vote, the government will prepare a report about parental violence and propose measures to educate parents.

Following the example of Sweden in 1966, some 54 countries - including 22 of the EU's 28 member countries - have introduced similar laws banning corporal punishment in the home, according to French data.