Prohibition of all corporal punishment in Germany (2000)

In July 2000 the Bundestag added a new provision to the German Civil Code which states in article 1631(2):

Children have the right to a non-violent upbringing. Corporal punishment, psychological injuries and other humiliating measures are prohibited."

Another Civil Code amendment encourages authorities to provide advice to families on resolving conflicts without violence. In 1997 German law was amended to prohibit "degrading methods of discipline including physical and psychological abuse", but this did not explicitly ban all physical punishment. In October 1998 the Families Minister in the new Government announced that it was committed to prohibiting all corporal punishment: in 2000 it fulfilled its commitment.

The Federal Government and NGOs collaborated to launch a public campaign to accompany the law reform and encourage parents to raise their children by non-violent means. The objective of the campaign was not to pillory parents but to sensitise them in measured ways as to how they can raise their children with due respect and care. One part consisted of posters, advertisements and television spots. The other consisted of individual projects and community initiatives all around Germany, geared towards supporting parents in the raising of their children. To raise the public profile of the campaign, prominent personalities, including the Federal Minister for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth were appointed as ambassadors to promote childrearing by non-violent means.


Further information

  • Global Initiative country report for Germany
  • Civil Code (German)
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