South Africa may look to outlaw spanking at home

Punishment would be deemed a form of assault

Published On: Jul 30 2013 01:11:35 PM EDT
DETROIT -

The Children's Rights Project, a non-governmental organization based at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, is working with South Africa's government to draft a bill that would outlaw spanking at home.

If passed, the bill would outlaw corporal punishment in the home. This is the second bid by the organization, after a failed attempt in 2007.

“If a husband beats a wife it’s a crime, but if a parents hits a child who is helpless, it’s not illegal,” Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini told the Sunday Times. Under the draft law, parents would be charged with assault if, at home, they used a flat hand on a child's bottom or enacted any other forms of corporal punishment.

Critics who oppose the law say the move to could have the effect of turning "law-abiding, diligent parents into criminals overnight."

Focus On The Family, a global Christian group, opposes the proposal, but noted to The Times that for most children, “the removal of pleasures or privileges is actually more painful than a spanking.”

Finland, Germany, Kenya, Poland, Sweden and Uruguay already have bans on corporal punishments.