Florida Corporal Punishment

Corporal Punishment

 Can parents spank their children?  Is spanking equivalent to abuse?  Does spanking constitute domestic violence? 

 The First District Court of Appeals recently overturned a domestic violence injunction against a father which was granted to his 14 year old child by the trial court.

 Section 741.30 of the Florida Statutes permits family or household members to seek an injunction for protection against domestic violence if that person “is either the victim of domestic violence as defined in Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes or has a reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of any act of domestic violence…” 

 Appearing to be at cross purposes with Section 741.30 is the common law which states “the common law recognize(s) a parent’s right to discipline his or her child in a “reasonable manner.””  Raford v. State, 828 So. 2d 1012, 1015.  Further in both civil and criminal child abuse proceedings, a parent’s right to administer reasonable and non-excessive corporal punishment to discipline their children is legislatively recognized. 

 The district court, in overturning the trial courts ruling which granted the injunction, based their ruling on the individual facts of the case and held that a single spank constituted reasonable and non-excessive parental corporal discipline, and, as a matter of law, was not domestic violence.