Spanking and other forms of corporal punishment against children need to be banned in all European states before they become a health or social issue, the Council of Europe warned.
"We're hoping to have a corporal punishment-free zone which is called Europe," the council's deputy secretary-general Maud de Boer-Buquicchio told AFP at a two-day conference on violence against children in Vienna.
So far, 21 countries have banned corporal punishment against children, but there is still strong opposition to legislation in countries like France and Britain, where parents see such measures as an invasion of their private sphere.
"What we need to explain is that we do not challenge their parental authority and the need to provide a disciplinary framework for the children," said de Boer-Buquicchio. "What we want to challenge is the use of violence in order to do that."
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Parents needed a "push" to use other methods to educate or discipline their children, because the effects could be felt in the long term, she noted.