France responds to watchdog criticism with parenting leaflet

AP News
Posted: Apr 14, 2016 9:50 AM

PARIS (AP) — A year after Europe's top human rights body said France was not doing enough to prevent corporal punishment of children, the French government is sending guidance to all future parents.

Directed by Family Minister Laurence Rossignol, a 16-page leaflet issued this week provides advices on various parenting issues and recommends dialogue, insisting that "beating a child has no educative property."

Every soon-to-be parent in France is set to receive it between the fourth and fifth month of pregnancy.

Last year, the Council of Europe said that France is violating the European social charter because French law doesn't prohibit parents and others from corporal punishment of children in a sufficiently clear manner.

France has not amended its legislation since, and spanking a child generally remains acceptable.

Cecile Grosjean, who works as an advisor at the Family Ministry, told the AP that there was a need to teach parents about the impact of corporal punishment on their offspring.

"Our scientific knowledge has become more and more refined and parents should understand the consequences it can have on a little child or a budding adult," she said.