Prohibition of all corporal punishment in Tunisia (2010)
In July 2010, Parliament passed Law No. 2010-40 of 26 July 2010, amending article 319 of the Penal Code to remove the clause which provided a legal defence for the use of corporal punishment in childrearing.
Prior to the reform, article 319 of the Penal Code punished assault and violence which did not lead to serious or lasting consequences for the victim, but stated that “correction of a child by persons in authority over him is not punishable”.
The new law explicitly repeals this clause, making it a criminal offence to assault a child even lightly. Publication of the law in the Official Gazette, in July 2010, was accompanied by a statement from the Constitutional Council that the new law is wholly compatible with the Constitution and its effect is to make the provisions against light assault in article 319 of the Penal Code equally applicable to “correction” of children.
Serious assault is punishable under other articles in the Penal Code, and the Code of Child Protection provides legal protection from other forms of violence, including “repeated violations of [the child’s] physical integrity”.