Guidelines for assessing the legality of corporal punishment


Prohibiting all corporal punishment of children: assessing the law (“Assessment guidelines”)


Published by

Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children


Publication date

February 2014


Type of publication




English, French, Russian, Portuguese


The Global Initiative maintains a detailed individual report on the legal status of corporal punishment in each state and territory worldwide (see country reports) which enables us to map global progress towards universal prohibition. We, together with human rights monitoring bodies, have learned that legislation which is claimed as achieving full prohibition needs to be rigorously examined to ensure that it does so effectively – and is interpreted as doing so. These guidelines outline the Global Initiative’s approach to assessing whether or not legislation prohibits all corporal punishment of children. The main issues taken into account are:

  • Does the law repeal all legal defences, justifications and authorisations for the use of corporal punishment in childrearing?
  • Does the law explicitly prohibit corporal punishment?
  • Does the prohibition clearly apply to all forms of corporal punishment, without exception?
  • If the letter of the law is ambiguous, is there strong evidence that it is interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment without exception?


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