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On Wednesday, the Council of Europe faulted France for failing to fully and clearly ban the corporal punishment of children, as it committed to do under a European treaty.
The council’s ruling stemmed from a complaint lodged two years ago against France and several other European countries by The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, a British child protection organization which is a top European human rights body.
In France, corporal punishment of children is banned in the nation’s schools but not in family settings. Child abuse is illegal and is punished with long prison sentences, but it is not uncommon for French parents to slap or spank children, or for the French courts to view such actions as acceptable under a customary “right to discipline.”