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Legal reforms to prohibit all corporal punishment of children - in the family home as well as in schools and other institutions and penal systems - are spreading fast.

In many states the law provides defences for parents, other carers and teachers who use corporal punishment to discipline children: provisions which allow "reasonable chastisement" or "lawful correction". In addition there may be education laws providing for corporal punishment in schools and laws allowing corporal punishment in penal institutions and as a sentence of the courts.

Law reform to end corporal punishment involves removing any provisions authorising corporal punishment and removing any special defences that may exist, so that the criminal law on assault applies equally to any assault of a child, whether or not it is described as discipline. It is a fundamental principle of human rights - upheld in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 7 and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 26 - that all are entitled to equal protection of the law without discrimination.

In some states the law is silent on corporal punishment of children, but nevertheless it is socially and legally accepted and therefore explicit prohibition is required.

Click here for the latest summary information on progress towards universal prohibition, and selected facts and figures on states pursuing reform and states so far resisting.

Click here for information of legislation in states which have achieved full prohibition.

Worldwide, corporal punishment in schools has been prohibited in at least 113 states. But at least 78 states have not prohibited corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions for children in conflict with the law, and 45 have not prohibited it as a judicial sentence of the courts for young people convicted of an offence.

Our online global table shows data for all states and dependent territories on the extent of prohibition in three categories: Home; School; Penal system. Listed alphabetically, select from below:


Also available from the table are individual reports for each state, with details of laws relating to corporal punishment in the home, schools, penal system and alternative care settings, as well as summaries of prevalence research and extracts from recommendations made by human rights treaty bodies. Click here for individual state reports.

Our global and regional tables, available as PDF files (updated February 2013), summarise the extent of prohibition in the home, schools, as a sentence for crime, as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions, and in alternative care settings. Download from here:

Global table


East and Southern Africa

East Asia and Pacific

Europe and Central Asia

Latin America

Middle East and North Africa

North America

South Asia

West and Central Africa

This analysis has been compiled from information from governmental and non-governmental sources, including reports on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every effort is made to maintain its accuracy. Please send us updating information and details of sources for missing information:

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