France set to be criticised by rights body over smacking: report

2nd March 2015, Comments 1 comment

France is set to be criticised by Europe's top human rights body for failing to clearly ban the smacking of children, Le Monde newspaper reported on Monday.

In a judgement due to be handed down on Wednesday, the Council of Europe will say French law is not "sufficiently clear, binding and precise" on the matter, Le Monde reported.

The Council made no comment.

Reacting to the report, France's family minister Laurence Rossignol said she did not believe it was necessary to legislate on the issue of smacking.

"We don't need a law, but we do need to collectively consider the usefulness of corporal punishment in bringing up children," she told AFP.

British-based child protection charity Approach lodged the complaint because it maintains that French law violates part of the European Social Charter, a Council of Europe treaty first adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996.

While France bans violence towards children, it does allow parents the "right to discipline" them.

Twenty-seven European nations have banned the smacking of children and the Council of Europe wants the rest of its 47 member states to follow suit.

But polls show there remains widespread support in Britain and France for the right to smack children.

© 2015 AFP

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