Constitutional Court to hear arguments on domestic corporal punishment

A child receiving corporal punishment.
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The Constitutional Court will on Thursday hear arguments on whether parents spanking a child should be considered as violence.

Last year, the High Court in Johannesburg found that disciplining children at home with corporal punishment violates their rights.

Freedom of Religion South Africa wants the Constitutional Court to overturn the High Court ruling, arguing that it’s tantamount to state interference in parenting issues.

Opposing them, a number of children’s rights groups want the ruling confirmed.  They argue that children who were raised by the rod develop anxieties and are also likely to be violent adults.

“We don’t expect parents to give up discipline, we just expect parents to give up violent discipline. When the court ruling comes into place that the parents can no longer use corporal punishment, they’ll have to use non-violent forms of discipline such as positive parenting and I think that will have a ripple effect on society. At the moment, by using corporal punishment in the home, we are creating an inter-generational cycle of abuse,” says Stefanie Rohrs, Senior Researcher at the Children’s Institute.

Listen to a discussion on the ruling: