Smacking kids leads to violence and depression new study finds


​Children who are victims of violence face a difficult future new research reveals 

20th November 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Children who suffer physical punishments can go on to experience depression and mental illness in later life and become violent themselves, a new report has claimed.

There is a link between smacking children and child abuse according to the study commissioned by leading charities NSPCC, Barnardo's Scotland and Children 1st alongside Scotland's Children's Commissioner.

The authors stated that the evidence into the effects of smacking is so overwhelming that it should be outlawed by legislation.

"That legal change should not be about persecuting parents but instead be about protecting children,” said the study.

"Smacking should be seen as a clear violation of children's human rights, the authors say, and children should be given more, not less protection from violence than adults."

Parents who are using physical punishment for problem behaviour are likely to make it worse

“There is strong and consistent evidence from good quality research that physical punishment is associated with increased childhood aggression and antisocial behaviour," the authors of the study conclude.

“In other words, parents who are using physical punishment in response to perceived problem behaviour are likely to make it worse.

“Physical punishment carries a worrying and serious risk of escalation into injurious abuse and maltreatment,” they add.

One of the authors, Dr Anja Heilmann, said: “Our review dispels the myth that physical punishment is a necessary disciplinary tool.

“Evidence shows that the vast majority of parents express highly ambivalent and negative feelings about its use.

“Where the law has been changed, this has not led to the criminalisation of parents, rather, the law is of strong value, which combined with positive parenting campaigns results in a faster reduction in the use of physical punishment."

Co-author Sir Michael Marmot, professor of public health at the University of London, added: “As well as ringing alarm bells, this review should also spur us into action.

"Scots law is out of step with the Scottish Government's highly laudable approach to child wellbeing which focuses on prevention and early intervention.”

The research brings together 74 studies from around the world carried out in the last 10 years, including two from Scotland.

Some 42 studies on bad behaviour out of 55 concluded that physical punishment made it more likely a child would in turn become violent.