Should parents in Switzerland be banned from smacking their children?
A group of Swiss citizens has launched a petition aiming to make it illegal under Swiss law for parents to slap or smack their children.
The organization ‘No to violence against children’ will present the petition to the Swiss government with the aim of changing its mind, after the lower house of parliament voted against legislation on the subject last May.
Writing on its website, the group says “We want children to grow up without violence, in an environment that guarantees safety, respect and tolerance.”
Though Switzerland is signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which aims to protect children against violence, Swiss law does not specifically ban all forms of violence, as the Convention requires.
Unlike some other countries, Switzerland doesn’t qualify a slap by parents in the home as corporal punishment and has faced criticism from the UN on the subject.
According to a study by the University of Fribourg cited by the Swiss press, 20 percent of Swiss parents think that giving their child a slap is not corporal punishment, and 12 percent say they would go further than that in disciplining their children.
The UN-supported Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment of Children was launched in Geneva in 2001 with the aim of helping countries signed up to the Convention to ban the practice.
So far 53 countries have banned all corporal punishment of children, including in the home, and some 55 have expressed a commitment to doing so.