European Committee of Social Rights: Italy

2011

(January 2012, Conclusions 2011)

"The Committee notes that there have been no changes to the situation which it has previously found to be in conformity. In this context it recalls that in World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v. Italy, Complaint No. 19/2003, decision on the merits of 7 December 2004, it held that ‘it is apparent from Judgement No. 4909 of the Court of Cassation of 16 May 1996 (...), that the Court explicitly and conclusively removed any ambiguity concerning the lawfulness of the use of any degree of violence against children by any person, and even in circumstances traditionally regarded as justifying such conduct’ (OMCT v. Italy, § 46). In its previous conclusion (Conclusions 2007) the Committee asked whether the 1996 ruling was still good law.

"The Committee notes from another source that the law confirms the right to correction (‘jus corrigenda’). The 1996 Court of Cassation ruling states that this cannot be used to defend the use of corporal punishment but this has not been confirmed in legislation. According to the same source, the near universal social acceptance of corporal punishment in childrearing necessitates clarity in law that no level of corporal punishment is acceptable. The ‘right to correction’ should thus be explicitly repealed and prohibition enacted of all corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, in the home and all other settings where adults have parental authority. Legislation should explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all education settings, public and private, all institutions accommodating children in conflict with the law, and all alternative care settings.

"The Committee asks whether there are any plans to make legislative amendments following the 1996 ruling that would explicitly ban corporal punishment in all settings, such as home, schools and institutions.…

"Pending receipt of the information requested, the Committee defers its conclusion."

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2007

(2007, Conclusions XVIII-1, vol. 2)

"The Committee recalls that the situation was found to be in conformity with the Charter in both the previous conclusion and in its decision on the merits of World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v Italy (complaint No. 19/2003, decision on the merits of 8 December 2004). Italy prohibits corporal punishment of children within the family through a combination of legislation and case law (Decision No. 4909 of 16 May 1996 of the Court of Cassation). Since then, the Committee affirmed that in order ‘to comply with Article 17, states’ domestic law must prohibit and penalise all forms of violence against children, that is acts or behaviour likely to affect the physical integrity, dignity, development or psychological well being of children. The relevant provisions must be sufficiently clear, binding and precise, so as to preclude the courts from refusing to apply them to violence against children. Moreover, states must act with due diligence to ensure that such violence is eliminated in practice’ (World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v Portugal, complaint No. 34/2006, Decision on the Merits of 5 December 2006, §§19-21).

"The Committee asks that the next report explain whether this ruling is still good law."

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2003

(1 October 2003, Conclusions 2003 Vol. 1, page 300)

"As regards corporal punishment of children, the Committee notes that the Corte di Cazzione declared all corporal punishment to be unlawful in a judgment of 18 March 1996. It wishes to know what the effect of this decision is….

"Pending receipt of the information requested, the Committee defers its conclusion."

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2001

(1 January 2001, Conclusions XV-2 vol. 1, pages 315-317)

"The Committee wishes to know whether legislation prohibits all forms of corporal punishment of children, in schools, in institutions, in the home and elsewhere…."

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