The Criminal Law and Managing Children's Behaviour
The following explains what the criminal law says about how parents, caregivers, and teachers may respond when children under their care are misbehaving or doing something that might be dangerous to themselves or others. It describes what actions are acceptable and what actions may lead to criminal charges and a possible conviction for breaking the law.
Specifically, the publication speaks to the Criminal Code and Section 43, a section that provides another exception to the law on assault. Section 43 allows parents, caregivers and teachers to use reasonable force to correct a child's behaviour or a student's behaviour without being found guilty of assault.
The use of force to correct a child is only allowed to help the child learn and can never be used in anger.
The child must be between two years old and twelve years old. The force used must be reasonable and its impact only "transitory and trifling". The person must not use an object, such as a ruler or belt, when applying the force. The person must not hit or slap the child's head. The seriousness of what happened or what the child did is not relevant. Using reasonable force to restrain a child may be acceptable in some circumstances.
Hitting a child in anger or in retaliation for something a child did is not considered reasonable and is against the law.
- Publisher - Current Organization Name: Department of Justice Canada
- Publisher - Organization Name at Publication: Department of Justice
- Licence: Open Government Licence - Canada