Children's Organisations Call For An Outright Ban On Slapping Children

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) and the Children's Rights Alliance have launched the findings of a survey conducted to investigate attitudes towards child discipline.

With 62% of adults surveyed believing that it is currently illegal to slap a child and 73% viewing slapping as an ineffective way to discipline a child, the two children's organisations are calling for an outright ban on slapping children and the implementation of a large scale positive parenting campaign.

Both organisations have for many years been raising concerns about the corporal punishment of children in Ireland and calling on the Government to legislate against such practices in all settings. The survey, which was commissioned to learn more about public attitudes towards slapping and child discipline, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,008 adults and yielded some interesting trends.

The key findings were:

• Just over 3 in 5 adults believe it is illegal to slap a child

• 73%, almost three-quarters of adults, do not view slapping as an effective way to discipline a child

• 2 in 5 adults have slapped a child to discipline them, with 1% saying they do it often

• Almost 3 in 5 adults support a complete ban on slapping children

• Two thirds of adults believe that there is not enough information available to parents relating to alternative methods of discipline.

The findings indicate that there is much support for a ban on slapping but also a need for information and support made available for parents to become more aware of alternative methods of disciplining children.

Caroline O'Sullivan, Director of Services, ISPCC said: "We know that slapping children is harmful, it is ineffective and has innumerable negative effects such as increased aggression in children, increased anti-social behaviour and damage to the parent-child relationship. The survey findings indicate positive support for a ban on slapping children in Ireland.

"There is overwhelming evidence that slapping is ineffective in changing a child's behaviour and in fact has negative effects on children, adults, and society in general. Now is the time for the Government to step up and implement a ban on slapping in all settings without delay."


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