Child Scolding — a Prohibited Act or a Circumstance Repealing the Lawlessness Cover Image

Karcenie dzieci — czyn zabroniony, czy okoliczność uchylająca bezprawność?
Child Scolding — a Prohibited Act or a Circumstance Repealing the Lawlessness

Author(s): Sylwia Różycka-Jaroś
Subject(s): Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence
Published by: Instytut Profilaktyki Społecznej i Resocjalizacji UW
Keywords: child scolding; lawlessness; Polish legal system

Summary/Abstract: For centuries, children were treated as the property of their parents. They were forced to absolute obedience, and any manifestation of their independence was severely retributed, most often with corporal punishments. This behavior was sanctioned both under the applicable laws and in the opinions of contemporary education specialists. Despite changes which have taken place over some past decades, in the area of the respect of the child rights in Poland there have been, for many years, no clear assumptions as to the legal position of the child in respect of their rights of dignity and physical integrity preservation when corporally punished. It was thought that this case was not explicitly regulated under any legal act. In the doctrine of criminal law the prevailing idea was that the use of physical and mental scolding by parents was compliant with laws, considering the existence of the extra statutory countertype of the minors scolding, which was justified by the tradition of “child beating” existing since time immemorial. In fact, this state of affairs only strengthened the attitude of the repeated parental authority abuse. The legal situation of the child changed only with the entry into force, on August 1, 2010, of the provisions in the amended Family and Guardianship Code laying down what follows: “It shall be prohibited for individuals who execute parental authority or a guardianship or custody over a minor to resort to corporal punishments.” As this provision establishes the borderlines of acceptable scolding practices in Polish legislation the main aim of the paper is to analyze acceptable forms of scolding in Poland before the adoption of this prohibition, by attempting to answer whether, at that time, scolding was in fact a prohibited act or rather a circumstance repealing its lawlessness. To this end, we have analyzed the validity of the child scolding countertype and the relevant provisions applicable in Polish legal system.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 18
  • Page Range: 25-58
  • Page Count: 34