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5. Corporal punishment vs violence: what is the boundary?

Corporal punishment involves any type of punishment in which physical force is used and is intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort. It is a type of domestic violence if the parents, using violence or the threat of violence or abusive behaviour, inflict physical or psychological harm to the child.


Parents should be cautious in their ways of disciplining their children.  Conduct disapproved by court is not limited to violence or threats of violence or whether actual bodily harm is caused to a child, but whether the conduct could be serious and inimical to mental and physical health or hinder the welfare of the child (for example parents screaming and yelling, force long hours of homework or isolation in room, damage properties of children, leave a child alone unattended, not providing enough food and clothing etc.)  Once this boundary is crossed, parents may be subject to prosecution and have their parental rights taken away or hindered by intervention from the court or Social Welfare Department for the protection of the children under harm or maltreatment.