->''"Threaten a child and you will unite its parents against you. ''Kill'' a child and those who have lost it will retreat in mourning. Those around them will feel their pain and likewise look to their own families. They will keep their children close and out of schools. [...] This makes the Rebellion look unforgivably weak."''
-->-- '''Flirry Vorru''', ''[[ComicBook/XWingSeries Star Wars: The Krytos Trap]]''

Many adult viewers and writers are upset about kids being harmed. Kid viewers aren't, but then, kids aren't the ones doing the writing, are they? As a result, many characters on TV Wouldn't Hurt a Child.

This is often done simply by [[HideYourChildren not showing kids at all in action and suspense shows]], but sometimes it's rather conspicuous when characters seemingly go out of their way to not hurt kids, or circumstances happen to conveniently align themselves so that kids don't get hurt. For example, a slasher movie where the slasher just happens to not encounter children in hiding, or the kids manage to be rescued just in time, while the adults and teens get killed. It's also pretty common that when EvenEvilHasStandards, not harming children is one of them.

In fact, when this trope [[WouldHurtAChild does get averted and children do get harmed]], it can often be shocking for the audience.

See Also WouldntHitAGirl for the female-specific version of this trope. See FriendToAllChildren for bad guys who not only don't hurt kids, but will actively protect them despite being bad guys. For video games, see HideYourChildren, where children aren't even portrayed so as to avoid the implications that they could be hurt. For a more specific form of Wouldn't Hurt a Child, in which very young children are shielded from danger by the plot due to society's squeamishness about hurting babies, see InfantImmortality.

A common subversion is when a character who goes by this motto has to face a CreepyChild, or worse an EnfantTerrible.

May be a form of HeroicVow.

Oddly enough, it's also TruthInTelevision as many gangs, such as the Mexican Mafia, brutally murder their members that hurt children. This even extends to prison, where inmates, or even prison-based gangs, that welcome robbers and murderers into their fold will not tolerate someone who hurts a kid. In fact, killing one of these people often results in being well liked by the other inmates.

Contrast ChildHater and WouldHurtAChild.

----
!!Examples and subversions: ('''All inversions/aversions go under WouldHurtAChild''')

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/{{Daimos}}'': Do not ''even'' think of hurting a child in front of [[TheHero Kazuya]] [[HotBlooded Ryuuzaki]] lest you have your face rearranged.
** In episode 2, a child got killed during the enemy air raid. Kazuya snapped, instantly got in his HumongousMecha and utterly tore apart the {{Robeast}} enemy.
* There's been at least some censorship to not show kids getting hurt. An episode of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' was censored in the US release to cut out a brief bit of animation where Gohan was punched by a villain, instead merely implying the punch. Take notice that this was when Gohan was a helpless 4 year old who'd never had a fighting lesson in his life. He gets punched plenty on camera after he learns to punch back.
* This is the trait that distinguished Wamuu as a NobleDemon with honor and decency amongst his fellow vampires in 'Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure''.
* Humourously invoked by ReallySevenHundredYearsOld LittleMissBadass Vita in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS'', complaining about having to arrest Lutecia:
--> '''Vita:''' I don't like this. It's like I'm picking on a little kid.
** In ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaViVid'', Subaru complains about Nove fighting harshly against a small girl (Ingvalt/Einhart) the previous night, but Nove counters that she also got beaten up fairly badly.
* The ''Anime/SonicX'' dub (like many of FourKids dub jobs) is famous for the editing out of at least three instances of violence inflicted upon children. The first instance being that of Maria (who not only had an immune disorder in the original, but was shot and killed by a gun soldier who showed considerable angst about it for ''decades'' afterwards- while in the dub she was merely "taken away"). This was closely followed by Christopher Thorndyke in a rather infamous scene which was cut apart repeatedly to edit out the fact that Shadow was throwing-and-smashing-him-into-walls (this resulting in the kid apparently passing out for no reason much to the confusion of a seven year old audience), and finally with the death of a teenaged revolutionary making a suicide run into the Metarex fleet (this time Fourkids actually edited out a gravestone in one image).
** FourKids starts to get the hint after a while, but Chris still gets ''another'' instance of this in the final series whereas Metarex slashes him during an escape attempt. The single drop of blood was cut in order to further the illusion that he'd been knocked out - not stabbed.
** Eggman also never wanted to hurt Chris, and in fact, when one of his robots went haywire and actually was about to ''kill'' him, Eggman aided Sonic in shutting it down because the thought of having a child's blood on his hand was too horrific even for him.
* Gamma Akutabi, of ''Manga/ZombiePowder'', is led to believe he is fighting a child, and so only uses his left hand. He's likely about to lose until he finds out it's actually an old man who just looks like a child. He holds back like this specifically because he has a soft spot for women and children.
* This might be the reason why, in the anime adaptation of ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'', Azmaria is [[spoiler:the only member of the main cast to [[KillEmAll survive to the end of the series]]. [[KarmaHoudini Besides the villain]], at least, and Joshua--but he suffers extreme mental damage in the process.]] That being said, it ''does'' show the deaths of another group of children because of their powers (who are minor enough to not have individual names).
* King Hamdo, the mad tyrant in ''Anime/NowAndThenHereAndThere'', uses this trope to his advantage; he employs an army of children so his enemies will be hesitant to fight back. Unfortunately, he also utilizes the child soldiers as [[WeHaveReserves war fodder]].
** This was based on RealLife examples like the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.
* In ''{{Manga/Bleach}}'', Ukitake. When battling Lilinette he kept doing things like playing keep-away with her sword when it was fairly obvious that he could have just killed her without the slightest effort.
** On the other hand, although Kyoraku also saw Lilinette - who claimed Arrancar don't age - as a child, he [[spoiler:attacks Wonderweiss without hesitation when he sees him stab Ukitake.]]
** Rangiku is fairly hesitant to fight the child-like Wonderweiss, although it could be more due to his playing with a dragonfly in the middle of a battle instead of fighting (at first)
*** Speaking of Wonderweiss, [[spoiler:Yamamoto probably wouldn't have hesitated to fight him, but he did state he was glad Wonderweiss used [[OneWingedAngel his release form]] so he was fighting a bizarre monster instead of a kid]].
** Ichigo is hesitant to hurt Ururu during their training match, and even after seeing her SuperStrength in action, decides to only give her a tap on the head to clear the requirements. He somehow ends up grazing her face with his fist and Ururu kicks him away, but manages to pass the test by restoring his spiritual energy.
* [[AntiVillain Mifune]] in ''Manga/SoulEater'' has a soft spot for children, and has an iron-clad rule never to kill one, or allow one to be killed if he can prevent it. His MoralityPet, Angela, is a CuteWitch he is fostering.
** He also attempts to avoid killing Black Star (a teenager), deliberately holding back until Mifune found the 'assassin' to be a WorthyOpponent. [[spoiler:In the anime, Mifune tries to kills Black*Star because he is in risk of trying to become a [[HumanoidAbomination Kishin]] while in the manga they both have a silent agreement to not hold back in a DuelToTheDeath.]]
** Black*Star himself also obeys this trope: His walks away from his first battle with Mifune when he realizes Mifune's 'witch' was a little girl.
* ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'': Hei, extreme AntiHero or no, gets ''very'' protective of kids under his care for any reason, particularly girls the same age as his sister. Call it [[BigBrotherInstinct unresolved issues]]. While other contractors harm children, Hei does not.
* Double Subverted in the ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'' anime. [[AxCrazy Mitsuhide]] uses the semi-conscious [[ChildSoldiers Ranmaru]] as a human shield, taunting [[BattleButler Kojuro]] that he wouldn't kill a child. Kojuro tells him that regardless of age, Ranmaru is one of [[EvilOverlord Nobunaga's]] generals and therefore his enemy and charges in. The declaration causes Mitsuhide to abandon Ranmaru as a shield, allowing Kojuro to defeat Mitsuhide. He then lets Ranmaru off with a stern warning.
* [[ManipulativeBastard Sensui]] might have been counting on this trope in the ''Chapter Black'' arc of ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' with Amanuma. [[spoiler: It didn't work. And Kurama, the one who killed Amanuma, was ''pissed'' afterwards.]]
* Vash in ''Manga/TriGun'', being a AllLovingHero TechnicalPacifist, is particularly unwilling to hurt children. It's just not going to happen. [[AntiHero Wolfwood]] the priest ''does'' [[HitmanWithAHeart kill people]], though not in front of Vash, but taking care of children is the most important thing to him ever, so as much as he believes in necessary sacrifices he is definitely this. The first time we see his full armory unleashed in the anime, he's firing GunsAkimbo and shouting over the noise, "I'M NOT GOING TO LET ANY MORE CHILDREN SUFFER!!! NEVER AGAIN!"
** Even Wolfwood doesn't know what he will and won't do. Anime Wolfwood shoots what looks like a child to save Vash. Manga Wolfwood comes across as willing to sacrifice pretty much anything if he had reason to believe it was worthwhile. But children last of anything.
** When he chooses Vash's side they then go straight to the orphanage where he grew up to intercept the assassin team sent there to punish him; if they'd been late or he'd messed up, the kids would have been crisped.
* [[LightNovel/{{Slayers}} Lina Inverse]] has many {{Berserk Button}}s, but the ''biggest'' one is this trope. I.e., when Rezo petrified a kid in the first season, she got pissed and went to face him despite knowing it was a trap. [[spoiler: And in NEXT, she has a major FreakOut when she ''thinks'' she's killed a little girl who turned out to be an UndeadChild from Sairaag, and Sylphiel has to give her a CooldownHug.]]
* [[Manga/BlackCat Train Heartnet]] has been an assassin for many years.....but the biggest {{Berserk Button}} he possesses is about children. In the manga, he describes how he was about to shoot a man, but he realized the man was holding a young girl. He stopped, and couldn't pull the trigger, so he was shot, instead. He lived, but this is part of the major {{Heel Face Turn}} he undergoes throughout the series. The presence of [[GenkiGirl Saya Minatsuki]] only enstills that even more.
* Madara Uchiha in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' informs a an old and enraged Onoki that the only reason he went easy on him when he was younger, was because adults shouldn't fight kids seriously. [[spoiler: it doesn't save Onoki or the other Kage now from the beat down they get now.]]
* [[SpeedGrapher Suitengu]], despite being absolutely ruthless towards adults, doesn't hurt kids. An example: a little daughter offers her money to pay the father's debts; Suitengu leaves. A father offers her daughter to pay his debts: [[BerserkButton bad idea]].
* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', Aiho Yomikawa absolutely refuses to fight anybody who is a child or teenager, even if they have superpowers. One of the only times she broke this rule is when she punched her adopted son Accelerator after he came home from WorldWarIII for [[AngerBornOfWorry worrying her]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* One of the very, ''very'' few standards ''JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac'' has is to not hurt children. His victims are all teenagers/adults, although he ends up traumatizing a few children (especially Squee) in the process.
* Hunter Rose, the first ''ComicBook/{{Grendel}}'' had this as one of his personal standards, even eliminating child prostitution in New York upon becoming mob boss. In fact, when facing off against Franchise/{{Batman}} during his trip to Gotham, the accidental endangerment of a child he was holding hostage was what encouraged him to withdraw and go home. He himself has a MoralityPet in his adoptive daughter Stacy Palumbo, [[spoiler:who later arranges to have him killed.]]
* ''Franchise/FantasticFour'' villain [[ClockKing the Mad Thinker]] is perfectly willing to try and kill the Four. During a VillainTeamUp with the Wizard, the latter kidnaps Franklin Richards (Reed and Sue's son) and is getting ready to vivisect him to discover the secret of his amazing powers. The Mad Thinker, enraged, immediately terminates the partnership and leads Franklin's [[PapaWolf Uncle Ben]] to the Wizard's secret base, just in time to save him.
* The main reason why Jason Todd can be considered an AntiVillain and not a straight-out villain is that he will [[PayEvilUntoEvil kill anyone hurting a child.]]
* ''{{Deadpool}}'' the CrazyAwesome (and just plain [[AxCrazy crazy]]) Merc' with a Mouth still has a few lines he won't cross. One of them is hurting kids. In ''XForce'', he is the ''only'' member of the team to openly declare that [[spoiler:killing the child incarnation of Apocalypse]] was a borderline MoralEventHorizon for the team as a whole and that he for one is unhappy about it.
* In ''Comicbook/AvengersAcademy'', the Rhino ({{Spiderman}} villain) refuses to kill the teen heroes under Electro's orders.
* [=X-Men=] villains The Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy had been [[VillainousFriendship partners and close friends for almost their entire careers]], but that all changed during M-Day when Black Tom killed a kid, something that was too much for the Juggernaut. He confronted his former friend and convinced him to turn himself in, saying, "He was a kid, Tom. An' you an' me, for all our faults, we used ta be better than that."
** And Tom did indeed seem to be sorry (after all, he had gone insane after his powers went haywire and turned him into a living tree, which the effects of M-Day undid). As he told his friend, "That wasn't me, Cain, you know that. I wasn't in my right mind... You've got to understand... that mad life, before... it was like some dream."
* ''ComicBook/TheFlash'' has the Rogues. One of their rules is that they won't kill women and children, with the exception of Mirror Master, who will ''try'' to refrain from killing women, but still definitely won't hurt a child.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* In the ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' MadeForTVMovie "Invasion", Calvin comes across two snipers - one of whom believes in this, and another who puts his orders first. This ties in to the [[ManipulativeBastard mind game]] he plays with them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* As cruel and contemptible as James "Mickey" Hughes was toward his wife, Francine, in the made-for-TV adaptation of ''The Burning Bed'', Mickey is ''never'' seen raising a fist toward any of his children; all of his brutality is directed at his hapless wife.
* The heroine of The Girl in the Cafe admits to having been imprisoned for attacking someone for hurting a child.
* In ''Film/{{Unbreakable}}'' a crazy serial killer comes to a house and kills some people, but leaves the kids intact hiding in a cupboard or closet or something. The orange man likely just had [[RapeAsDrama other plans]] [[ColdBloodedTorture for them]] before [[WouldHurtAChild he killed them]], but we learn little enough about him that it's open to interpretation.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Predator}}'' movies, the eponymous Predator is a nearly-unstoppable alien killing machine with a code of honor; Predators view children as innocents, off-limits to being hunted, and sometimes even protect them from harm. According to the ExpandedUniverse, [[EgomaniacHunter predators hunt things depending on how worthy they are at giving them a good hunt]]. A predator would kill a child soldier in self-defense in a blink, but if it tried to hunt one and collect the skull as a trophy the other predators would punish him.
** This is exemplified in ''Film/{{Predator 2}}'' when he refrains from killing a pregnant cop and a child who was pointing a toy gun at him.
** In one comic the chief of the clan KILLED a young hunter who had a child's skull as a trophy. So they are REALLY strict in enforcing the rule.
** In another comic, a predator kills nazis who were about to kill a child (after having massacred his whole town), then cuts the ropes tying the boy's hands.
** And in yet another comic, a predator kills a man who physically abused his son and forced him to go hunting to the woods with him, and after blood from his father's body splatters on the boy, the predator gently wipes off the blood from the boy's face before returning to deal with the father's corpse.
* In ''Film/{{Scarface 1983}}'': Tony Montana may be a sociopath, but he would never harm a child. This is made evident during a hit he was carrying out--he noticed that the target had two small children with him and refused to do it, just as his bomber was to carry out the hit he shot the man dead so he couldn't.
* Mob boss Harry Waters from ''Film/InBruges'' finds [[EvenEvilHasStandards child killing abhorrent]] [[spoiler: and orders one of his men killed for accidentally shooting a boy, then when he thinks he's done the same (actually a dwarf) turns his gun on himself.]]
* Certainly not a villain, but ''Franchise/{{Robocop}}'' deserves mentioning. One of his directives is "Protect the innocent", and this ''always'' includes children, in his eyes. (Evident in the TV series too.)
* An infamous hitman in ''Film/LuckyNumberSlevin'' refused to kill a child and he was given the assignment because the mob thought he was the only hitman who ''would''.
* The same happens in ''The Replacement Killers''.
* Refusing to run over a girl is what caused the downfall of the terrorists in ''VantagePoint'' as they tried to escape in an ambulance. Had they run her over, they just might have gotten away. And these are the same terrorists that detonated two bombs in a crowd that contained plenty of children.
* In ''Film/{{Apocalypto}}'', the bad guys [[HumanSacrifice sacrifice the male prisoners]], sell their women as slaves and leave their children unharmed back in their destroyed home village. In RealLife the Mayas did not have any problem sacrificing women and children. But again, they did this to urban, ''noble'' women and children, [[HollywoodHistory not random hunter-gatherers from the jungle]]...
* ''Film/KillBill'': The Bride plays the trope straight as she really doesn't like it when other children and teens get involved in violent stuff. In Part 1 she's very unhappy when [[spoiler: Nikki witnesses how the Bride kills her mom in their fight]], later attempts to disuade Gogo from fighting her, she spares a teenage Crazy 88 member but gives him a spanking with her sword and tells him to go home, and in the end of Part 2 [[spoiler: she decides that she'd rather put her revenge aside for a little than having BB witness her and Bill fight to the death.]]
* ''Film/DieHard 3'' has {{Anvilicious}} moments about this: the line "children may find it [the bomb]" is uttered by both the good guy and a bad guy. This [[spoiler:brings a question of doubt in the perpetrators' actions, and it's revealed the BigBad never planted a ''real'' bomb, just a fake one, because [[EvenEvilHasStandards "he's a soldier, not a monster".]]]]
* Cheese in ''Film/GoneBabyGone'' may be a ruthless drug dealer who has no problem with brutally murdering people but is insulted if someone accuses him of messing with kids. And if you tell him twice, he'll "get discourteous on you".
* A hilarious example happens in ''Raiders of the Lost Ark''. Franchise/IndianaJones is in a local hash bar, he was inches away from killing Belloq at the cost of his own life when armed Arab Mercenaries have their rifles pointed at him. What stopped them from firing was when Sallah's kids entered the bar to shield him while taking him out. They found it amusing and spared his life.
* In ''Film/TheQuickAndTheDead'', several kids gang up on the priest Cort, who plays this trope straight. It is subverted when the Lady comes in and kicks their asses.
* Of all people, Jason Voorhees. In ''Film/FridayThe13thPartVIJasonLives'', he's shown standing in the midst of a cabin full of sleeping children and ''ignoring them completely'', even the one who wakes up and sees him. He then goes about his usual business of killing their horny teenage guardians. (Of course, seeing as the reason Jason even exists is because he ''himself'' was once a child who had died as a result of neglect by people who did ''not'' have this philosophy, he could probably relate.)
* Leon, ''Film/TheProfessional'', has two major rules. No women, no kids.
* ''Film/PitchBlack'': Riddick likes children quite a lot, and they in turn seem fascinated by him - not just Jack, but Imam's younger acolyte as well. In fact he likes them enough that he refuses to kill Jack [[spoiler: even though she's actually a girl on her period and attracting the monsters. He doesn't have any qualms about leaving them to save himself, though.]]
* ''Film/DriveAngry'': Near the end, the female cultist who has been caring for Milton's baby granddaughter finds herself unable to harm the child when Jonah King orders her to sacrifice the baby.
** However, when asked if she'd ave handed the child over to be killed, she's too ashamed to answer and [[{{Psychopomp}} the Accountant]] implies that she'll be damned to hell as a result.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/DamonRunyon's characters are criminals, but this is a line they do not ever cross. [[spoiler: In the story "Gentlemen, the King!" three hoods hired to knock off a European king abort the mission instantly upon finding that the King in question is a child, and end up assassinating the man who hired them, instead.]]
* Literature/{{Dexter}} might be a bloodthirsty SerialKiller, but even ''he'' [[EvenEvilHasStandards is horrified that anyone could hurt a child]]. Of course, being Dexter, he expresses that horror by [[TheKillerBecomesTheKilled offing the child killers in turn]], but hey, nobody's perfect.
** If anything, that only elevates him closer to perfection.
* In ''[[ComicBook/XWingSeries The Krytos Trap]]'', Kirtan Loor is the terrorist striking during a [[ThePlague terrible pandemic]] in order to make the New Republic's job that much harder. Flirry Vorru is sent to stop him, but instead decides to use him, telling Loor what targets to hit as part of some plan. Once he directs Loor to a school. Not a training academy, a school. For children.
--> [...] It struck Loor as almost comical that he could see Vorru's desire to strike at a school as ''[[EvenEvilHasStandards evil]]'', yet his desire to hit Rogue Squadron was nothing more than duty. The difference, ultimately, was that the strike at Rogue Squadron would advance the cause of the Empire, while the strike at the school would only strengthen Vorru's position. ''[[NotSoDifferent We are not as far apart as I would like to think]], but neither are we as close as Vorru thinks''.
** Although Loor still bombs the school. He objected to this and to a plan of [[BigBad Isard's]], but he went along and helped anyway.
** In ''Literature/DeathStar'', nearly everyone is horrified by what happened to Alderaan, including the gunner who pulled the trigger. In an aversion of AMillionIsAStatistic, it's the idea of being on a battle station that destroys inhabited worlds with civilian populations that gets several of them to go through {{Heel Realization}}s. A stormtrooper tells himself that he could fight a room full of people and if surviving meant killing half of them, so be it. But he hadn't signed up to murder children in their beds.
** Largely averted in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', when just about anyone is willing to directly or indirectly hurt Tash and Zak Arranda, who start the series as thirteen and twelve years old, respectively. But played straight (ish) with Captain Thrawn. When Tash is insultingly rude to him, his bodyguards bristle but he tells them to stand down, and says that since she's a child he won't take offense. He also takes the time to explain himself to them, a little, though he doesn't go out of his way any to help them.
* Ari in ''[[Literature/DragonJousters Joust]]'':
--> ''I do not make war on children!''
* Count Rugen, the six-fingered man, in ''Literature/ThePrincessBride''. He avoids engaging young Inigo in battle after [[YouKilledMyFather he kills his father]], and doesn't kill him, even after he defeats him.
** However, given the Count's obsessive interest in pain, this is likely 'not' 'wouldn't kill a child' so much as it is cruelty.
* Granny Weatherwax in ''{{Literature/Discworld}}''. She [[ChildHater dislikes most children on principle]] but is utterly incapable of harming a child, despite being willing to brainwash people into thinking that they are frogs as a punishment for casual insults. Most young children tend to recognise this on a subconscious level and thus have no fear of her. Whilst this doesn't seem like much of an advantage, if you were to threaten a child (or other innocent) in her presence, there are not enough words to express how utterly screwed you are.
* Corvis Rebaine in ''The Conqueror's Shadow'' tells his demonic partner this when the demon suggests that he kill a young girl [[spoiler:who ends up being his future wife]] who is being too chatty. The demon retorts that Rebaine doesn't seem to have a problem with letting his armies slaughter women and children for him. Rebaine is furious, but realizes that he can't deny it.
* Witch hunter Shadwell in ''Literature/GoodOmens'' refuses to shoot TheAntichrist Adam Young when he sees that Adam is a little boy, saying that he is "just a bairn".
* Doubly subverted in ''Literature/NightWatch'' with a "wild" Light One Maxim. He can see Dark Ones but not his knismen and as such considers himself to be a lone crusader in a world besieged by forces of Darkness. He [[[[KnightTemplar relentlessly]] [[HangingJudge slaughters]] every Dark One he comes across, [[JudgeJuryAndExecutioner not bothering to find out]] if the actually harmed anyone ([[DarkIsNotEvil Not all of them do]]. Untill he encounters a Dark kid. He silently bemoans and curses the "Powers" that [[CursedWithAwesome bestowed him upon his gift]] but is still prepared to carry out his mission, and even intervention from another Light One doesn't hold him back ("[[HolierThanThou Your Light has faded!]]"). He does hesitate, however, when the kid rushes to protect his unfortunate defendor from him, something he wouldn't think possible for a Dark One.
* Played with in [[Literature/AlexRider Eagle Strike]]. Yassen refuses to shoot Alex and cites this trope, [[spoiler:although the real reason for him sparing Alex might have been feelings of loyalty towards Alex's father, who saved Yassen's life. Earlier in the series he had no problem working alongside Herod Sayle, a man who wanted to commit genocide against all british schoolchildren.]]
* Crops up in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'', when Hermione tells Harry not to curse a Death Eater who's been left with the head of a baby after an unfortunate accident involving time magic.
** Also cropped up earlier in the book, when the centaurs don't (initially, anyway) hurt Harry and Hermione because they're "foals".
* Despite being a generally ruthless, amoral crime boss, Gentleman Johnny Marcone of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' fits this trope to a tee. Not only would he never harm a child, but whenever a child is in danger, he puts their safety ahead of his own every time. He also personally executes any criminals in the city who violate this rule. It's the main reason that Harry can't bring himself to hate Marcone.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] in ''Literature/SomeoneElsesWar'', where the [[ChurchMilitant Lord's Resistance Army]] uses [[ChildSoldiers child soldiers]] to do their fighting because they know most people will hesitate to kill kids.
* In DevonMonk's Literature/AllieBeckstrom novel ''Magic on the Storm'', Allie would fight to prevent PoweredByAForsakenChild magic drawing on the hospital nursery.
* In JackCampbell's Literature/TheLostStars novel ''Tarnished Knight'', Drakon protects the families of security forces for fear of the children being hurt.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* After subverting this in its first half-hour, ''Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined'' later justifies it in that the Cylons want Baby Hera alive, and did their best to take care of her, despite having no prior experience in childcare and in general being lousy at it. Also, Leoben's psychological torture of Kara Thrace on New Caprica included leaving her alone with a child she believed was a half-Cylon hybrid. When Kara locked herself in a room to avoid the kid, the kid hurt herself and Kara's instincts as a human being overcame her hatred for the Cylons and she came to the kid's aid. No, Kara's not the villain, but then again BSG doesn't really have villains. Also, Cylons don't have kids: the toddler was a human girl they'd kidnapped.
** The episode Black Market shows that in the human fleet's criminal underworld children are being sold in a slave market. Apollo, despite having seen proof that the gangsters are very connected, dangerous, and might be able to get away with killing him, nonetheless confronts the head of the black market and says that he understands the need for a black market on certain goods, but that children are off limits. The guy refuses, thinking that [[YouWouldntShootMe Apollo doesn't dare actually kill him]]. Apollo quickly proves him wrong, and gets the new head of the underworld to agree to not mistreat kids.
* Played with in ''Series/TheDailyShow'' when the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference featured a 13-year-old speaker. Stewart showed a clip of his speech, then got out a huge, dusty "Comedy Bible" to determine whether or not he was an [[AcceptableTargets Acceptable Target]]. The answer was "Only for a classmate or sibling".
* Ben on ''{{Series/Lost}}'', despite being a MagnificentBastard, doesn't want to kill Rousseau's baby, and instead takes her in as his own. Later when he tracks down Penny in order to kill her, he [[spoiler: hesitates because she has a child]]. This trope is subverted, however, when Sayid [[spoiler: shoots a twelve-year old Ben while in the past]].
* Darien Fawkes, on ''Series/TheInvisibleMan'' is really great with kids, even when he's in a chemically induced murderous psychosis.
** For a bit of framing, in one particular episode, the guy sets fire to a picnic, pummels an entire football team while invisible, steals the Rolex of a dead guy at his funeral, But in the scene where he's with kids? He's beyond cool and highly supporting of them. Soon as the kids are out of the room he comes this close to killing his childhood pastor.
** One early episode has him pose as a little girl's ImaginaryFriend. He practically cures her Post-Traumatic Stress disorder himself, goes out of his way to make sure she's okay after ''he'' was just shot, and protects her from a Sniper while homicidally insane.
* Viciously subverted in ''Series/{{Torchwood}}: Children of Earth'' when [[spoiler:Jack was forced to kill his grandson]]. Some of the Fandom has depicted him as extremely child averse for quite a while afterwards.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has several examples of this trope:
** Kazran Sardic, due to his father, who he detested, being willing to hit children.
** The Doctor goes very much out of his way to help a crying child.
* In ''{{Series/Heroes}}'', Sylar, for all his evil ways, generally leaves kids who haven't reached puberty alone. He might threaten them or use them as extortion chips against his enemies, but never actually gets around to hurting them. Teenagers are fair game for him, though.
* In an episode of ''Series/TalesFromTheCrypt'' a young girl allows a deranged psychopath, who is dressed as Santa on Christmas Eve mind you, into her house. After the episode ends, The Crypt Keeper says that the killer "prefers older women," meaning that the child was safe.
* While serial killer Frank from ''Series/CriminalMinds'' has no qualms about hurting a child per se, he gets no satisfaction from doing so. This becomes a minor plot point in the episode where he's introduced. ''Criminal Minds'' in general falls under this trope, at least what is being shown on screen. Even though many of the [[MonsterOfTheWeek serial killers]] have hurt kids in their past, when an episode raises the possibility that a kid could get killed, the kid always lives. [[spoiler:The only time this was subverted was in "The Boogeyman" when the killer was himself a kid.]]
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'': When forced to choose between giving Elias information or watching a child freeze to death, Reese chose to save the child. Elias knew Reese would make that choice, which is the only reason he engineered the situation.
* Jesse Pinkman from ''Series/BreakingBad'' may be a little rough around the edges, but if there's one thing that [[BerserkButton sets him off]], it's seeing harm come to children.
* Two of Volker's hitmen in ''Series/TheMentalist'' are ordered to kill a child who witnessed one of Volker's murders. The first hitman [[MercifulMinion asks one of his relatives to take the kid in]]. The second hitman looks at a picture of the kid and flat-out refuses.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'': Rumpelstiltskin, for all his evil doings, he has never been seen harming, manipulating, or even raising a hand at a child. This can be explained through his backstory; [[spoiler: he became The Dark One to prevent his son from becoming a child soldier, and later used this power to rescue all the other children from the war.]]
** In "Lacey", upon discovering that the reason Robin Hood stole a wand from him was to heal Marian, who was deathly ill and pregnant, Rumplestiltskin intentionally misses with the arrow he was aiming at them. Made more telling that the bow used was enchanted to always find it's target. Belle even calls him out on it and he basically just ignores her by changing the subject.
** He also seemed to have a genuine fondness for Henry [[spoiler: until it was revealed that Henry would be his downfall.]]
* In a flashback in ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'', Xena reluctantly spares a young Royal heir in the East even though she was evil at the time and she knew he would grow up to be a homicidal despot with a grudge against her because she slaughtered his family. She turns out to be right about him when she revisits him fifteen or so years later, yet she faces the same choice when Gabrielle implores her to spare him again despite all he has done since they last met. [[spoiler:The last scene of the episode shows the Emperor sitting on his throne and Xena walking out of the throne room with Gabrielle and telling her she couldn't go through with it...but then the last shot reveals he is in fact dead.]]
* The trope is played with in an episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' when Scully goes against her instincts and her belief system and shoots the villain of the week, who is using mental trickery to make her ''think'' he's a child.
* In ''Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger'', this trope is what led to Joe Gibken [[spoiler:defecting from Zangyack, as he refused to follow his commander's order to slay three captive children.]]
* Despite being fairly ruthless in regard to criminals (and suspected by many of being a dirty cop), ''{{Series/Chicago PD}}'''s Sgt. Voight actually has a secret soft spot when it comes to kids, particularly ones in trouble. He took in the teenage daughter of a junkie and raised her as his own, and often helps other kids he encounters in his police work in a variety of ways.
* Omar Little, the KarmicThief from ''Series/TheWire'' who steals exclusively from the drug syndicates running the streets of Baltimore, has both this trope and WouldNotShootACivilian as his guiding lights. Despite how young some of the drug dealers are when they start the game, Omar still refuses to harm minors, shows kindness towards local children during a TenMinuteRetirement, and several times discounts a potential threat because "[[JustAKid He's just a boy]]." [[spoiler:He's killed in the final season by a young sociopath with a gun whom Omar had discounted as a threat]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'': At Act I Scene IV, a [[SmittenTeenageGirl Buffet – girl]] offers Cyrano free food. Cyrano lampshades that his {{pride}} [[DontYouDarePityMe is enormous]], but his fear to wound the [[SmittenTeenageGirl Buffet – girl]] is even more great, so he accepts her offer of free food… [[EvenEvilHasStandards after he lampshades that as a great deed]]. This could be a standard PetTheDog moment until FridgeLogic show us that Cyrano [[MommyIssues was wound in his childhood by his mother: because she didn’t like him when he was a vulnerable child]], [[LoveMartyr adult Cyrano cannot even consider any woman could love him]]. Hence his fear to wound a little girl by making her feel she’s unlovable if Cyrano would refuse [[PetTheDog this offer of food]]… an offer he would have surely refused if it were made by any other person.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Many WideOpenSandbox Games prevent this from happening by not having any children present in the game.
* [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Korgan Bloodaxe]] from ''VideoGame/BaldursGate 2: Shadows of Amn'' is a psychotic dwarf who has no problem with murder, rape, theft or genocide. He's racist against just about anyone, sexually harasses the female party members and always, always suggests solving problems with his axe. But he won't harm children, and describes a man who beats his daughter as "not worth the spittle on his boots".
* Played with in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars R'', the BigBad Duminuss has trio of homunculi as henchmen. The homunculi, despite posing superhuman strength, are all children. This is because Duminuss known most people will hesitate to fight children. It's eventually averted as the homunculi sacrifice their "mind" to heal badly injured Duminuss and player must kill them all afterwards.
* Travis Touchdown of ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' fame (infamy?) got over his [[WouldntHitAGirl inability to kill women]] in the first game, but even in ''Desperate Struggle'' he can't bring himself to finish off schoolgirl assassin Kimmy Howell.
--> '''Travis''': Screw this! I can't kill a co-ed!
* In the ''SupplementalMaterial/TeamFortress2'' comics, this goes for the mercenaries. So far seen are the RED and BLU Soldiers, Spies, and Scouts, and the RED Heavy and Demoman.
** In "Ring of Fired", this also applies to Saxton Hale, although he's okay with ordering his employees to hurt children in his stead.
* In many Bethesda Softworks games, one cannot kill or even hurt children. Attempting to attack a child in ''Skyrim'', for example, will result in the child running away in fear with no damage, angry parents, a 1000 gold bounty and a swarm of guards trying to kill you.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', child non-player characters (including those of the opposing faction) cannot be attacked or killed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Adrestia in ''[[{{Webcomic/morphe}} morphE]]'' is so against the idea of hurting children that when she is thrust into a InvoluntaryBattleToTheDeath with a teenager she [[http://morphe.thewebcomic.com/comics/1714482/page-45-shard/ offers him a shard of tile and orders him to kill her so that he can live.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The giant [[SnakePeople naga]] Katrika of ''{{Felarya}}'' loves children, and often goes out of her way to protect any kids she finds lost in the jungle. This behavior is especially noteworthy because Felaryan nagas (including Katrika) are typically man-eaters.
* The initial protagonist of ''Roleplay/WhatTimeIsItMrWolf'' falls under this, until [[CreepyChild the children in question]] [[BlackAndGreyMorality start to force his hand]].
* In the opening of ''[[WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog]]'', Dr. Horrible rejects Johnny Snow's challenge to a fight, because "there are kids in that park" (and also because [[UnknownRival he dismisses Snow's claim]] to be his [[ArchEnemy "arch-nemesis"]]).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', it is subverted in the case of Kenny and Butters quite often, and subverted to a lesser degree with Ike.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanPublicEnemies'', LexLuthor conspicuously avoids killing or injuring Toyman/Hiro Okamura, instead simply settling for destroying his equipment, even though he's the only [[strike:other]] person smart enough to stop the Kryptonite meteor about to hit Earth and that [[spoiler:by now Lex had gotten so crazy from Kryptonite injections he ''wanted'' the thing to hit the Earth so he could rebuild civilization afterward]].
* ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures''. Applies to Jade all the time, but is most telling in an episode where the heroes are fighting evil clones of themselves, and the adults are handily thrashed by the clone of Paco, a child. When they pull off Paco-clone's "mask" to reveal [[UncannyValley two eyes on an otherwise blank face]], the tables suddenly turn and [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute they're allowed to punch him with impunity]].
** Chow even called him out on this when he pointed out that Jackie wouldn't hurt a younger version of Valmont.
*** And let's not forget when a statue of Lo Pei, the warrior who originally defeated Shendu, was animated by the Rat Talisman. The Dark Hand mooks pose as mystical priests in an attempt to sway him to their side, but as soon as they try to hurt Jade, Lo Pei sees through the ruse.
* In ''ComicStrip/TheBoondocks'', when the kids get stuck in a prison riot during a field trip, one of the kids ask if the prisoners watching them are going to rape them, their reactions are pretty much "We're bad guys, [[EvenEvilHasStandards but even we're not]] ''[[EvenEvilHasStandards that]]'' [[EvenEvilHasStandards bad]]."
** Considering that convicted child molesters tend to be disproportionately targeted, this is hardly surprising.
* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' villains rarely follow this, but [[ChallengeSeeker Despero]] is an exception. While giving a particularly harsh CurbStompBattle to [[{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel/Billy Batson]], the latter counterattacks with his magic lightning, which [[OlderAlterEgo turns him back into the gangly teenager]]. Despero's [[TheDragon Dragon]] notes that a child is a pointless opponent, and Despero [[PsychicPowers puts Billy in a trance]] but otherwise leaves him unharmed. Though ironically, he next decides to fight ComicBook/{{Superboy}}, who's chronologically younger than Billy and only a year older physically.
* Pa and Ma, the late convenience store owners in ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', wouldn't dare harm anyone under the age of thirteen. Teenagers, however, are fair game.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfHeMan'' episode "Quest For The Crystals", when Meliac and his mooks corner He-Man and Caz, Meliac tells Caz he is free to leave. One of his mooks asks why they would bother sparing him. Another mook says that ever since Meliac's son died in a cave-in, Meliac cannot bear to see any child be harmed.
* Captain Hook is usually very willing to hurt the Lost Boys. However, in ''WesternAnimation/PeterPanAndThePirates'', he compromises in one episode where he is able to manipulate a magical text that gives him an overwhelming advantage over Peter. As he's about to kill Peter, Wendy asks that Toodles be allowed to leave, so he can be spared seeing it. (Toodles is only a toddler.) Hook actually honors this request, and tells his men to bring Toodles below deck. (In this DarkerAndEdgier continuity, Hook has often stated that he is "a gentleman" who is not unreasonable.) [[spoiler:Unfortunately for him, this was actually part of a plan thought up by Peter to escape by appealing to Hook's pride, and it worked.]]
* An unusual example in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars''. In one story arc the SpacePirate, Hondo Ohnaka, attacked a Jedi ship which was carrying six younglings in an attempt to steal their lightsaber crystals, [[WouldHurtAChild and told his men to do whatever was necessary to get them]]. But two episodes later he tells the Padawan chaperoning the younglings, Ahsoka, that he doesn't like taking children into battle. When she mentions the earlier incident, he waves it off as a change of heart. The character's voice actor said in an interview that Hondo really doesn't like hurting kids; he was hoping to retrieve the crystals with minimum fuss and would have let them go home unharmed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In [=LaVeyan=] Satanism, you are not permitted to harm children.
* In the National Geographic Documentary, ''Russia’s Toughest Prisons'', an inmate at Black Dolphin explained about his life as a mobster, [[EvenEvilHasStandards which has its own rules]] regarding children. Since they’re viewed as defenseless, he wasn't allowed to harm them. [[WouldntHitAGirl The same rules applied to women]].
* Many prison documentary series, such as MSNBC’s ''Lockup'' and National Geographic’s ''Lockdown'', it has been explained that even prisoners have their limits when it comes to children and those convicted of harming them, especially sex offenders, which are viewed as low, even by prisoners’ standards.
* Many countries, like Russia and China, have laws that ban school officials from using corporal punishment on students, which can lead to job dismissal. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporal_punishment_in_the_home Sweden was the first to go one step further and ban all form, including domestic]].
** United States was among the countries that signed the [[http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx Convention on the Rights of the Child]], a human rights treaty that handles rights for those under 18, but failed to have it ratified due to each state have different laws regarding children and a partial blame on political and religious conservatives to blocking the measure. Barack Obama is aware of this and admits he’ll have this reviewed since he considered the failure to ratify as an embarrassment.
** However, many countries, including United States, have made illegal for anyone under 18 to be executed for a crime, including murder. Instead, the harshest allowed is life for those who committed homicidal acts in the first-degree, while amendments for non-homicidal crimes have been considered since they can be viewed as cruel and punishments.
* During the trial for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's infant son, it was argued that the kidnapper must have been foreign, because "no American gangster ever sank to the level of killing babies." Interestingly, the true kidnapper might have had similar standards, since the baby's death was likely accidental.
[[/folder]]

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