Countries that have banned spanking or other forms corporal punishment are less likely to have violent youth, a study has shown.
Findings from the study led by Frank Elgar, associate professor in the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University, Canada, was published on BMJ.
The study consists of analysis of data from 88 countries, territories and protectorate states, making it the “largest cross-national analyses of youth violence” ever carried out.
Out of the 88 different countries surveyed, 30 had full bans on corporal punishment — at schools and homes.
Some of the countries that fell into that category include New Zealand, Iceland, Portugal, Spain and some Scandinavian, Central and South American countries.
The US, UK and Canada were among 38 countries that had partial bans, where corporal punishment is prohibited only in schools and not at home.
The remaining 20, including Israel, Egypt and most African countries, had no ban in place at the time of the study.
Explaining the results of the survey, Elgar said the lowest rates of violence were found in Costa Rica, Portugal, Finland, Honduras, Spain, New Zealand and Sweden.
“Boys in countries with a full ban showed 69% the rate of fighting found in countries with no ban,” he said.
“In girls, the gap was even larger, with 42% the rate of fighting found in countries with no ban.
“Countries with partial bans saw no reduction in violence among boys, but there was a reduction in violence among girls to 56% in countries with no bans.
“Societies that have these bans in place appear to be safer places for kids to grow up in.”
In Nigeria, the convention on the rights of the child has been ratified in 26 states.
Aimed at protecting children from violence, it criminalises physical and mental punishment as discipline.