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Discipline and the Law

The Center for Effective Discipline seeks to end corporal punishment of children in all settings including homes through education and legal reform. Only by putting bans in laws or regulations can such changes be effectively enforced. All bans should be accompanied by an educational component.

A majority of states have banned corporal punishment of school children while maintaining the rights of school authorities to use reasonable force and restraint to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to others, to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects upon or with the control of the student, in self-defense or for the protection of persons or property. In states where corporal punishment is allowed, local districts can ban corporal punishment as well establish conditions beyond those established by state laws and regulations for its use. Where state law permits, courts generally uphold the "reasonable" application of corporal punishment and have been reluctant to find that such punishment violates student due process rights or rights to be free from "cruel and unusual punishment". 

The list below includes the nations and year that they abolished corporal punishment of children in the family.

  • Sweden–1979
  • Finland–1983
  • Norway–1987
  • Austria–1989
  • Cyprus–1994
  • Denmark–1997
  • Latvia–1998
  • Croatia–1999
  • Israel–2000
  • Germany–2000
  • Bulgaria–2000
  • Iceland–2003
  • Romania–2004
  • Ukraine–2004
  • Hungary–2005
  • Greece–2006
  • Netherlands–2007
  • New Zealand–2007
  • Portugal–2007
  • Uruguay–2007
  • Venezuela–2007
  • Spain–2007
  • Togo–2007
  • Costa Rica–2008
  • Republic of Moldova–2008
  • Luxembourg–2008
  • Liechtenstein–2008
  • Albania–2010
  • Republic of Congo–2010
  • Tunisia–2010
  • Poland–2010
  • Kenya–2010
  • South Sudan–2011
  • Turkmenistan–2012
  • Honduras–2013
  • TFYR Macedonia–2013
  • Cabo Verde–2013
  • Argentina–2014
  • Bolivia–2014
  • Brazil–2014
  • Estonia–2014
  • Nicaragua–2014
  • San Marino–2014
  • Andorra–2014
  • Malta–2014
  • Benin–2015
  • Ireland–2015
  • Peru–2015
  • Paraguay–2016

Many states have taken a stand against corporal punishment of children, but rules and legislation varies from state to state. State laws are subject to change through enactment of new legislation. While we work to remain updated with current legislation, please consider completing a legal research review to verify the state law(s) you have interest in.

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