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Brazil kids’ bill would outlaw parental spankings

July 15th, 2010

In Brazil, a swat to your child’s bottom could soon get you slapped with a warning.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sent a bill to Congress on Wednesday proposing that Brazil join the two dozen or so countries around the world that have moved to curb spanking.

While a law on the books already makes it illegal to abuse children, the new measure explicitly prohibits parents and guardians from using corporal punishment. The measure also would forbid any kind of “cruel or degrading treatment” that humiliates or seriously threatens children and teenagers.

Violators would be given more than a time-out: The statute calls for parents to be warned, or ordered into psychological treatment for repeated offenses. Child protective services could be mandated to intervene in households where it continues to be a problem.

“There will be a lot of people saying, ‘They want to keep the mother from educating her child, they are trying to keep the mother from getting a flip-flop to gently slap their kid,'” President Silva said.

“We just want to say: It’s possible to do things differently,” he added. “If punishment and whipping solved things, we wouldn’t have so much corruption in this country. We wouldn’t have so many bandits in this country.”

Sweden became the first nation to outlaw physical punishment of children and teenagers in 1979, according to government news service Agencia Brasil. Twenty-five countries currently have anti-spanking statutes, including neighboring Uruguay and Venezuela, the agency said.

The bill must be approved by the lower house and the Senate.

By Tales Azzoni

Associated Press Writer

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