Immediate opportunities for law reform

Opportunities for promoting and enacting prohibition of corporal punishment occur whenever laws relating to children are reviewed, revised and/or freshly drafted, including legislation relevant to the family, education, care and juvenile justice. The revision and enactment of criminal and civil codes also provides key opportunities for prohibiting corporal punishment. Opportunities such as these exist in the majority of states which have not yet prohibited all corporal punishment.

Where there are these opportunities, it is vital to propose that prohibition – including the repeal of all legal defences/authorisations for the use of corporal punishment – is included in the laws and retained as the legislation passes through parliament. Every opportunity to prohibit represents a chance to fulfil children’s right to legal protection, stopping children from being hit and hurt by their parents and others. But the existence of these opportunities is not essential in advocating for prohibition. Where there appear to be no current processes of law reform within which to promote prohibition, efforts should be made to draft proposals for prohibition which can be used to initiate the process of law reform and/or to bring into play if opportunities arise.

Moving swiftly from discussion to action is key. National attention to corporal punishment (e.g. through government consultations, new research, media reports, etc) can be used to promote prohibition: proposals for law reform must be made and followed through. Given children’s clear and immediate human right to protection, it is not necessary to consult on the issue, nor is it justifiable to wait for public attitudes to change before reforming the law.


Online table of opportunities for law reform

This is a quick reference point for finding out if there are current law reforms in any state or territory which provide an opportunity to advocate for prohibiting corporal punishment of children.


Tables for download

Downloadable opportunities tables for use in advocacy are accessible via the links below. Other tables can be produced on request: if you require an opportunities table for advocacy purposes that is not listed below, please email More details on law reform opportunities in each country are set out in the individual country reports.


Global opportunity table

Global opportunities table


Regional opportunity tables

Please note: (i) The regional tables below are based on the UN Study regions. This refers to the regional grouping in the UN Study on Violence Against Children. The report of the Study, published in 2006, recommended prohibition of all corporal punishment of children in all settings, including the home, as a priority issue. (ii) The tables below include states but not territories. Regional tables including territories are available on request as noted above. (iii) Tables are currently in English. Translations may be prepared if necessary for advocacy. 






East and Southern Africa

Middle East and North Africa

West and Central Africa


Latin America and the Caribbean

North America










East Asia and the Pacific

Europe and Central Asia

South Asia


Europe and Central Asia






Middle East




Middle East and North Africa





This is an automatic translation service. Extracts from laws, treaty body recommendations and Universal Periodic Review outcomes are unofficial translations.