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16th Oct 2018

Countries with smacking bans have less youth violence, claims research

Smacking children has been illegal in Ireland since 2015.
Countries with smacking bans have less youth violence, claims research

“Societies that prohibit the use of corporal punishment are less violent for youth to grow up in.”

Banning the smacking of kids has some clear positive effects within families – and it looks as though it’s good for society too.

Countries where smacking children is illegal have fewer issues with youth violence, a survey has found.

Researchers looked at data for over 400,000 teenagers in 88 countries around the world, including how often the teens got into fights.

Four or more fights a year was deemed to be frequent fighting.

They then cross-referenced the rates of frequent fighting with whether each country permitted corporal punishment against children.

Of the 88 countries, 30 had full bans on smacking in school and at home, 38 had partial bans and 20 had no restriction on it.

 Countries with smacking bans have less youth violence, claims research

The countries where physical punishment is completely outlawed had 69 per cent less fighting among young men and 42 per cent less among young women than countries where there was no ban.

The researchers concluded that there was indeed a link between banning smacking and lowering levels of violence among teenagers.

“Whether bans precipitated changes in child discipline or reflected a social milieu that inhibits youth violence remains unclear due to the study design and data limitations,” they wrote in the journal BMJ alongside their findings.

“However, these results support the hypothesis that societies that prohibit the use of corporal punishment are less violent for youth to grow up in than societies that have not.”

Smacking children has been illegal in Ireland since 2015.