chapter  13
13 Pages

The Netherlands: The Law Against Using Violence in Bringing Up Children


The use of physical punishment in the upbringing of children is deeply rooted in the Netherlands. Until the early 21st century, the use of violence in child rearing was accepted, and even considered to be a necessary educational tool. Although the means and harshness of violence against children changed through time, the use of some form of violence did not disappear completely. The abolition of physical punishment unfolded very slowly in the Netherlands, requiring many lively debates and discussions among academics, professionals, and the public. Finally, in April 2007, the Dutch Civil Code was amended to prohibit the use of violence in the upbringing of children, and to set the standard that parents have an obligation to take care of and raise their children without resorting to mental or physical violence or any other degrading treatment (Press Release, Ministry of Justice, April 2007).