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Domestic CP - October 1998


Associated Press, 14 October 1998

Germany Considers Anti-Slap Law

BONN, Germany (AP) -- Germany's new liberal government is considering making it illegal to slap children.

A measure to outlaw spanking and slapping children, even as a disciplinary measure, is to be discussed as part of the coalition talks between the victorious Social Democrats and their future government partner, the Greens, newspapers reported Wednesday.

"The right of children to be reared without violence must be anchored in the law books," the new government's designated family minister, Christine Bergmann, was quoted by the Cologne Express as saying.

German law already provides that "degrading disciplinary measures, in particular physical and mental mistreatment, are improper," Bergmann, a Social Democrat, told the newspaper.

Outgoing Family Minister Claudia Nolte condemned violence against children, but said legally speaking that it was impossible to legislate "a childhood without violence."

The Social Democrats and the Greens don't envision strict penalties in a proposed measures to outlaw slapping. However, a Social Democratic family expert, Edith Niehuis, said they want to send a message that "a whack on the behind should no longer be allowed as a parental tool."

Organizations dedicated to child protection welcomed the proposal.

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