What is the “right of correction”, which allowed the acquittal of a police officer accused of domestic violence?

The Metz Court of Appeal recently acquitted a former police officer accused of violence against his children, invoking the “right of correction”. This decision is highly controversial. We’ll explain it to you.

It is a controversial decision that does not please everyone. Yves Milla, union delegate at Unsa police, was sentenced at first instance, in July 2023, to 18 months in prison for charges of violence against his two boys, L. and C., now aged 14 and 12 years old, and his ex-partner, according to . He also received a withdrawal of his parental authority and an obligation to undergo parental responsibility training. But on Thursday April 18, 2024, this former border police major was acquitted by the Court of Appeal of Metz (Moselle).

The rest after this ad

To justify its decision, the Metz Court of Appeal cited the “right of correction”, who would be “recognized to parents and currently authorizes the criminal judge to waive sanctioning the perpetrators of violence as long as they have not caused harm to the child, they remain proportionate to the breach committed and they do not present no humiliating character”indicated the court in a press release, according to BFMTV.

“When my father is angry with me, he strangles me”

But the children’s testimonies during their hearing in 2022, reported by BFMTVpaint a much more violent picture of the family situation. “When my dad gets mad at me, he strangles me and pins me against the wall. Me and my little brother are terrified beyond belief.”portrayed the older brother. “He is aggressive all the time, even when he says something positive to me”he added.

The rest after this ad

According to the magistrates of the court of appeal, this is indeed a “violence” but who “do not cause harm to the child” and who is “proportionate”. Despite that “personality described as whole and strong”Yves Milla did not undergo any “humiliating punishment such as whipping or being forced to eat off the ground” to her children, they also judge. “We did not find in the presentation of the procedure any elements which could corroborate one version or the other”, the president of the court underlined to AFP. It would therefore only be, for the court, a “serious and serious conflict over the exercise of parental authority”.

The rest after this ad

A criticized court decision

This decision quickly made headlines. “This judgment is incomprehensible”lamented lawyer Mikaël Benillouche. “The right of correction existed, a long time ago, of a parent on a child, of a husband on his wife, it even applied to teachers on their students, but it was contradicted several times by the Court European Union of Human Rights”, he also insisted. As a reminder, the right to correction was prohibited by the so-called “anti-spanking” law of 2019.

Indeed, since the adoption of this law n°2019-721 relating to the prohibition of ordinary educational violence on July 10, 2019, French legislation stipulates that parental authority must be exercised “without physical or psychological violence”. “Entire generations have been raised with this principle that a spanking does no harm to anyone. In reality, this violence produces after-effects in the child. We teach him that hitting or insulting can be legitimate and then we try to fight against an increase in violence among minors, it is completely paradoxical”regretted Marie-Pierre de la Gontrie, rapporteur of this law adopted at the time unanimously by the Senate.

The rest after this ad

“I am shocked by the decision of the Metz magistrates”continued the senator, considering this decision “contrary to the law”. “With the vote on this text, we had taken a step forward. Today, we have the impression of taking three steps backward. The term ‘right of correction’ is from another time. It is a a terrible step backwards, especially since the facts were established and the man had been convicted at first instance”she concluded, reports Public Senate.

Head of section

Rights of women and children, violence, feminism, gender, discrimination, parenthood, education, psychology, health, couple, sexuality, social networks…. Joséphine loves deciphering all the social issues that drive our world…

source site-41