New Czech law will likely not punish parents who spank their kids

This week, Labor Minister Marian Jurečka stressed the importance of discerning between excessive violence and reasonable disciplinary action.


Written by ČTK Published on 25.08.2023 11:31:00 (updated on 25.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Despite the upcoming prohibition of physical punishment by law, parents who choose to employ spanking or slapping as a disciplinary measure for their children may not face legal consequences, according to statements Labor Minister Marian Jurečka made Thursday.

Questionable, but not criminal

The envisaged provisions against physical punishment are slated to be included in an amendment to the Civil Code, which is currently being prepared by the Justice Ministry. This move aligns with a broader governmental plan to combat domestic violence, set to include measures until 2026. 

The impending amendment aims to outline actions deemed unacceptable towards children without criminalizing parents, differentiating between upbringing and domestic violence.

While the government intends to establish the inadmissibility of physically disciplining children, Jurečka emphasizes the need to avoid criminalizing parents who occasionally resort to light physical punishment.

The Labor Minister revealed his involvement in drafting the legislation, having engaged with non-governmental organizations, the Justice Ministry, and the government's human rights commissioner, Klára Šimáčková Laurenčíková. Initially hesitant about potential legal ramifications for parents employing minimal physical discipline, Jurečka insists on resolute action against those who perpetrate violence against children, women, men, or the elderly.

Context and parenting are important

In a past interview with, Jurečka criticized the notion of a blanket ban on parents' ability to administer even a mild slap in exceptional circumstances. He stressed the importance of discerning between excessive violence and reasonable disciplinary action, believing that courts should consider contextual factors. This viewpoint has generated diverse reactions within the public.

Recent research conducted by the psychiatric clinic of Charles University's First Medical Faculty and the General University Hospital has revealed that over a third of parents in the Czech Republic resort to physical punishment as a routine aspect of child-rearing. 

Physical disciplinary behavior tends to perpetuate across generations, with those who experienced physical discipline during their own upbringing more likely to employ it. Younger parents and those with multiple children are more prone to using physical punishment. Encouragingly, 25 percent of people support an outright ban on physically disciplining children.

Globally, 66 countries have implemented legal bans on physical punishment, a movement initiated by Sweden in 1979. While the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has consistently recommended a prohibition of physical punishment in the Czech Republic, previous attempts to enact such a ban have faltered. 

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