Ending Physical Punishment

This Child Protection Week (September 3-9), Commissioner Helen Connolly is highlighting the negative impacts of physical punishment on children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. The Commissioner often receives postcards through her Student Voice Postcard initiative that contain children’s comments relating to their experience of physical punishment. These quotes are heartbreaking and they point to the reality that children across our community are experiencing physical punishment in their own homes. They also talk about being yelled at and told their Commissioner that they would prefer it if their parents could ‘tell them off’ in other ways. They would prefer parents to explain what they should have done differently, rather than just yelling at them all the time.  We all lose our cool from time to time, but perhaps we don’t realise the huge impact this has on our children. 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBv4PcKxx9w[/embedyt]

Parental corporal or physical punishment of children under 18 years is legal in South Australia under the common law defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’. We need a new law that prohibits corporal punishment and provides children with the same protection from assault as adults. Ending corporal punishment will send a clear message that hitting children is wrong, and just as unacceptable as hitting adults. More than 60 countries have made corporal punishment illegal in all settings (including home, school, alternative care and penal institutions). It’s time for SA to join this group of countries promoting child rights.

For more information about corporal punishment and parenting visit:

  • https://www.unicef.org/parenting/child-care/how-discipline-your-child-smart-and-healthy-way
  • https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/behaviour/discipline/smacking
  • https://theparentswebsite.com.au/the-case-for-banning-corporal-punishment-of-kids/
  • https://www.ccyp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Smacking-and-Physical-Punishment.pdf

For more information about #NCPW23, check out the NAPCAN website: www.napcan.org.au