The Defence of Domestic Discipline

Section 280 of the Criminal Code Act 1899, makes it lawful for a parent or carer to use such force to a child as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of correction, discipline, management or control. This can be used as a defence against a charge of assault in some circumstances.

Who May Rely on The Defence?

A person charged with assault may rely on this defence if they were:

  • A parent of the child; or
  • A carer of the child.

What the Prosecution Must Prove

The prosecution must satisfy beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The defendant’s actions were not by way of correction, discipline, management or control of the person’s child; or
  • That the force used was not reasonable.

If the prosecution cannot prove the above elements, the defendant is entitled to be acquitted.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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