Equally Protected? A review of the evidence on the physical punishment of children

The physical punishment of children is still common practice in Scotland and the rest of the UK; its use in the home and in private foster care is still lawful, despite growing controversy of its use.

This review was published with the aim of updating the findings of a previous review on physical punishment published in Northern Ireland in 2008. It is primarily a review of literature published between 2005 and 2015. Findings are provided for three key areas:

  • The prevalence of physical punishment and changing attitudes
  • Physical punishment as related to detrimental childhood and adult outcomes
  • Physical punishment as related to an increased risk of child maltreatment

Despite decreasing prevalence, changing attitudes towards physical punishment, and the negative effects of physical punishment on children and its common existence in Scotland and the UK, this review provides policy recommendations for the total prohibition of physical punishment and education strategies for parents on how to use positive parenting techniques.

Published 2015-12-09

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