European Committee of Social Rights, Decision on the merits, Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) v. Italy (Complaint No. 94/2013), 5 December 2014

The complainant called the European Committee of Social Rights to examine the compatibility of Italian legislation and jurisprudence with the European Social Charter prohibition of all corporal punishment of children. In fact, according to the applicants’ claim, there is no explicit and effective prohibition of all corporal punishment in Italy. In particular, Article 571 of the Criminal Code (abuse of correctional measures or discipline) implies the right of correction that may involve a certain degree of violence and only consider offence if the facts result physical or mental injury. Notwithstanding the 1996 Supreme Court of Cassation Judgment (Judgment No. 4909) ruled that the use of violence for educational purposes can no longer be considered lawful, the applicant argued that such judgment is not sufficient to prohibit all corporal punishment. In the view of the Committee, although in the Italian legislation there is no clear prohibition on such matter, the above mentioned Supreme Court of Cassation Judgment interpretation has been followed in subsequent cases. For these reasons concluded that there was no violation of the right of mothers and children to social and economic protection (Article 17 of the European Social Charter).