Child Punishment is Unacceptable, and the Ministry Wants to Legalize It

The Czech Ministry of Justice has proposed an amendment to the Civil Code that would explicitly prohibit corporal punishment of children. Even though Czech law does not currently allow physical or psychological punishment of children, a lack of explicit language in the Civil Code has led to a high tolerance level for such behavior.

The amendment, which will be presented this summer, is not intended to criminalize parents or impose penalties but to make it clear that corporal punishment of children is unacceptable in Czech society.

The amendment is based on international treaties the Czech Republic has signed, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Civil Code stipulates that “educational methods can only be used to the extent appropriate to the circumstances, does not endanger the health or development of the child, and does not affect the child’s dignity.”

The Ministry has prepared two versions of the amendment. The first adds language to the section on educational methods stating that “corporal punishment, psychological abuse, and other humiliating measures affect the child’s dignity.” The second version includes a provision in the section on parental responsibility that names the child’s development without corporal punishment and psychological abuse as a right and duty of parents.

The Czech Republic is one of the last countries in the European Union without explicit language in its laws regarding the unacceptability of corporal punishment of children. According to a 2018 survey, 40% of Czechs do not consider a slap or spanking physical punishment, and 63% admitted to using such punishment on their own children. Studies have shown that such punishment has no positive effect on children.

This amendment is essential to protecting the rights and well-being of children in the Czech Republic.