During an extraordinary session on 14 February 2017, the Lithuanian Parliament – the Seimas – passed amendments to the Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child 1996, prohibiting all corporal punishment of children.
The new law defines corporal punishment as “any punishment in which physical force is used to cause physical pain, even on a small scale, or otherwise to physically torture a child” and explicitly includes it in the definitions of violence against a child and physical violence. Article 4 of the amending Law modified article 10.2 of the Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child 1996 to state (unofficial translation):
2. Children have the right to be protected from of all forms of violence, including corporal punishment, by their parents, other legal representatives, persons living with them or other persons.”
The amendments also set out the State’s obligation to take appropriate measures ensuring that children are protected of children from all forms of violence – including corporal punishment – they may suffer at the hands of their parents, guardians, and any other person caring for the child (article 3).
The amending Law must now be signed by the President of the Republic or the Speaker of the Seimas; it will come into force the day after its official inclusion into the Register of Legal Acts.
Prior to legislative reform, corporal punishment of children was lawful in the home, alternative care and some day care settings.
This reform makes Lithuania the 52nd state worldwide to fully prohibit all corporal punishment of children; it is the 31st Council of Europe member state and the 22nd European Union state to do so. This new Law also leaves Russia as the only member of the Council of the Baltic Sea States that has not fully prohibited the violent punishment of children.