New UNICEF reports make violent punishment visible

A major new UNICEF report, Hidden in Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children, highlights that violent discipline is the most common form of violence against children and that more than two billion children worldwide are not legally protected from all corporal punishment.

Emphasizing that violent discipline violates children’s rights as set forth in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the report graphically illustrates the legal status of corporal punishment in the family home, schools and other settings worldwide. It underlines that most corporal punishment occurs at home, the setting in which it is least likely to be prohibited by law. Drawing on data from 62 countries or areas, the report states that about four in five children aged 2-14 are subjected to violent discipline in the home, and 17% experience severe physical punishment (being hit on the head, ears or face or being hit hard and repeatedly). In 23 of the countries, more than one in five children is subjected to severe physical punishment.

Another new UNICEF report, Ending Violence Against Children: Six Strategies for Actionhighlights that legislation outlawing corporal punishment sends a strong social message that violence is unacceptable and draws attention to the prohibition of all corporal punishment in 39 states worldwide.