Existing resources in the EU

The European Union has actively fought to defend the rights of children. The jurisprudence of the European Committee of Social Law, which monitors compliance with the European Social Charter, requires all member states to prohibit all physical punishment or any other form of punishment or humiliating treatment of children, and to promote other energetic measures administrative and measures to recognize the right to be protected.

In 2001, in a general comment, the Committee stated that Article 17 of the Letters: “requires the prohibition in legislation of all violence against children, whether at school, in other institutions, at home or elsewhere. It also considers that any other form of punishment, degrading treatment of children should be prohibited in legislation and combined with appropriate sanctions in criminal or civil law. It is not acceptable for a society that prohibits all forms of physical violence among adults to accept that adults subject children to physical violence”

In June 2006, the Committee adopted a general comment on the child’s right to protection from physical punishment and all other forms of cruel or degrading punishment.

“Addressing the acceptance or tolerance of physical punishment of children and putting an end to such practices in the family, schools and other settings is not only an obligation of states parties in view of the Convention, but also a key strategy for reduce and prevent all forms of violence in society (…) ” “Once this practice is visible, it is clear that physical punishment conflicts with the equal and inalienable rights of children with respect to their human dignity and physical integrity. Children’s own characteristics, their situation starts dependency and development, extraordinary human potential and vulnerability, are elements that require more, not less, legal and other protection from all forms of violence. “

 The Council of Europe has played a key role in the process of studying the United Nations and is committed to ensure follow-up of its recommendations in Europe.

The campaign of the Council of Europe against physical punishment aims to achieve the prohibition of all physical punishment and promote a positive upbringing and a culture of non-violence, in order to a childhood free of violence for all children.

Among the measures implemented in the Global Initiative to end all Corporal Punishment of Children, these are divided into three areas:

  1. Prohibition to the elimination of corporal punishment.
  2. Positive discipline resources
  3. Non-violent childhoods projects.

Preliminary list of measures needed to accompany/follow prohibition

  • Wide dissemination and explanation of the law and its implications.
  • Detailed guidance, for all involved, on how the law prohibiting violent punishment should be implemented in the best interests of children.
  • Communication of children´s right to protections from corporal punishment and all other cruel or degrading forms of punishment to children and adults
  • Promotion of positive, non-violent forms of discipline to the public, children, parents, other careers, teachers, etc.
  • Dissemination of information on the dangers of corporal punishment
  • Integration of implementation/enforcement of the prohibition into the national and local child protection system.
  • Identification of key public figures and a wide range of partners who can support implementation of the law and transformation of attitudes.

Planning for change

A national plan should be developed by the government with other potentially active partners on how to progress from prohibition to elimination. This could be a distinct plan or an integral element in a national plan to eliminate all forms of violence against children.

What actions there has been challenging corporal punishment in the home and family, local community, schools and other institutions, all forms of alternative care and daycare, child labour and penal systems for children.

  1. The structures of all relevant national and local services impacting on children and families which could be used as a communications vehicle to support the move away from violent punishment.
  2. Available research on the prevalence of and attitudes towards violent punishment of children.


Moving on from corporal punishment in the Baltic Sea Region. This project draws on the significant experience of states in the Baltic Sea Region in Bringing the ban from law into practice, ranging from those with over 30 years experience implemchildrenatrisk.euenting the ban to those that have just recently embarked on this journey.

The project is led by the Children Risk unit (http://www.childrenatrisk.eu/) of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, in corporation with the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. National project Right of the Child in the Ministry of Health and Social Affair in Sweden. The outcome of the initiative will be presented at a European conference in late 2018.


While civil society organizations can and do raise awareness about children’s right to protection and about positive discipline, ultimately, governments should take responsibility for this process, including through providing education and training for parents and professionals. For more information on promoting positive discipline in conjunction with promoting law reform, see the Global Initiative’s Campaigns Manual (2010).

  1. Parenting without Punishing. (nopunish.net). Website containing a book and article by Norm Lee, who has developed an approach to parenting which he calls the “New Non-Punitive Parenting Paradigm”, bases on the principles of respect for children as thinking and feeling human beings with full memberships in the family and on “democratic discipline”.
  2. Positive discipline (2007). Manual Positive Discipline. What is and how to do it. By save the children Sweden and the Global initiative to end all corporal Punishment of Children. (Global Initiative to end all corporal punishment of Children).
  3. The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, which brings together representatives from all 47 member states’ parliaments, has adopted a Recommendation calling for Europe to become a “corporal punishment-free zone”.

Member States who have abolished corporal punishment are encouraged to share with the Council of Europe good practices they have developed to promote non-violent parenting. This can be audio-visual and campaign materials, publications, training materials and other useful tools, which brings together representatives from all 47 member states’ parliaments, has adopted a Recommendation calling for Europe to become a “corporal punishment-free zone”. The social and legal acceptance of corporal punishment of children must come to an end. The campaign „Raise your hand against smacking” provides member states with awareness raising material to promote the abolition of corporal punishment and encourage positive, non-violent parenting.


http://ec.europa.eu/justice/grants/results/daphne-toolkit/en/content/contribution-eradication-use-corporal-punishment-children-whitin-family-and-institutional. The aim of the project was to contribute to the eradication of the physical punishment on children through the elaboration of programmes, material for raising awareness and training material addressed to parents and professionals from social and school fields related to methods alternative to the use of physical punishment.


  1. Educate, do no punish. Just/2010/DAP3/AG/1274.

The Educate do not Punish project created and tested awareness-raising materials to promote the ban on corporal punishment and positive parenting both at European level and in the national context where the project was implemented.

  1. Be supportive, not violent! Positive parenting for happy children. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/grants/results/daphne-toolkit/en/content/be-supportive-not-violent-positive-parenting-happy-children

The project “Be supportive, not violent! Positive parenting for happy children”, Aimed at raising awareness on the negative effects of corporal and verbal punishment of children, as well as at promoting positive parenting and non-violent raising of children in all environments (home, school or any other institutional or non-institutional setting).