Spanking children illegal in 43 countries

Spanking children illegal in 43 countries

Is your child misbehaving while on holiday? You may have to think twice about smacking your kids if you're in a country like Sweden, where corporal punishment of children is illegal. 

35 years since Sweden became the first to outlaw the physical punishment of children, 43 countries around the world have followed suit.

According to a statement from Sweden's children's rights agencies, the most recent countries to join the list include Brazil, San Marino, and Estonia. 

As of today, Singapore and other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan and Taiwan have not banned corporal punishment of children, which is defined as spanking, hitting, and caning.

According to the statement, "90 per cent of the world's children live in countries where corporal punishment is legal", and reasons for not outlawing child corporal punishment include cultural norms, privacy issues, and historical beliefs.

Opinions on child corporal punishment can also be difficult to sway in countries where there are variations on "acceptable levels" of punishment, and also because parents may be unsure if their actions are considered abusive.

Meanwhile, countries that have a ban against physically punishing children believe in protecting the rights of the child.

"It is a basic human right to grow up free from violence of any kind," said Ms Emma Kristensson of Sweden's BRIS (Children's Rights in Society). "Even lesser forms of aggression and violence have long term effects on you as an individual."

"There is a summary of 150 international studies that we refer to, and all of them show that the consequences of corporal punishment are very negative," said Ms Eva Bellander, Senior Advisor of Child Protection at Save the Children Sweden. "The are no studies showing the benefits of corporal punishment, at all."

Activists for children's rights encourage parents to use alternative parenting techniques instead of physical discipline.

Here is the full list of 43 countries which have outlawed corporal punishment and the year in which it was instituted:

1. Estonia (2014)
2. San Marino (2014)
3. Argentina (2014)
4. Bolivia (2014)
5. Brazil (2014)
6. Malta (2014)
7. Cabo Verde (2013)
8. Honduras (2013)
9. TFYR Macedonia (2013)
10. South Sudan (2011)
11. Albania (2010)
12. Congo, Republic of (2010)
13. Kenya (2010)
14. Tunisia (2010)
15. Poland (2010)
16. Liechtenstein (2008)
17. Luxembourg (2008)
18. Republic of Moldova (2008)
19. Costa Rica (2008)
20. Togo (2007)
21. Spain (2007)
22. Venezuela (2007)
23. Uruguay (2007)
24. Portugal (2007)
25. New Zealand (2007)
26. Netherlands (2007)
27. Greece (2006)
28. Hungary (2005)
29. Romania (2004)
30. Ukraine (2004)
31. Iceland (2003)
32. Turkmenistan (2002)
33. Germany (2000)
34. Israel (2000)
35. Bulgaria (2000)
36. Croatia (1999)
37. Latvia (1998)
38. Denmark (1997)
39. Cyprus (1994)
40. Austria (1989)
41. Norway (1987)
42. Finland (1983)
43. Sweden (1979)

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