Norway's Supreme Court on Wednesday left no doubt that spanking children is an illegal method of discipline.
In a unanimous decision the court rejected the appeal of a stepfather who had been fined for three cases of spanking his 7- and 9-year-old stepsons in 2002 and 2003 because they often started fights at school.
The testing of Norway's long ban on physical punishment in childrearing began when a local court acquitted the man in 2005. Norwegian law allows both defense and prosecution to appeal a verdict, and an appeals court found for the prosecution.
The accused decided to apply to the Supreme Court, but this petition has now been rejected and the second ruling from the appeals court stands, TV 2 Nettavisen reports.
The Supreme Court referred to the legal evolution of Norway's modern Child Act, which states that children may not be exposed to any type of physical or psychological treatment that can pose danger or damage.
The Supreme Court referred to the unanimity of psychologists, psychiatrists and family workers that denounce violence in childrearing. The ruling pointed out that the spanking was a punishment and not a spontaneous reaction that is not meant to be addressed by the Act.
The court emphasized that the ruling still differentiates between a spanking and the so-called "careful slap" that is still allowed as a disciplinary measure.
Aftenposten English Web Desk
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