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The Utility Of Law In Ameliorating Adverse Outcomes Associated With Corporal Punishment Of Children And In Ultimately Eliminating Such Punishment

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Chapter Summary

The case has been made in this chapter that international human rights law mandates that countries abolish all corporal punishment of children. The chapter identifies three potential downsides in using law to attain eradication of corporal punishment of children. First, abolitionary law that is enforced may have the untoward effect of clogging courts with litigation against throngs of misguided but well-meaning parents; and, if the law is not enforced, the government may stand accused of attempting a farcical solution by pronouncement. Second, law may be too invasive of private family life. Third, law may provoke a backlash that will sabotage abolitionists' purposes. The chapter discusses one of law's singular benefits-its peerless norm-setting influence. It concerns the therapeutic nature of legal prohibitions of all corporal punishment of children. In essence, the legal prohibition has the potential to assume the role of what psychologist Alice Miller calls the "enlightened witness"..

Keywords: abolitionary law; Alice Miller; corporal punishment of children; international human rights law



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