Corporal punishment: Key issues
Corporal punishment: Key issues
This resource is designed to inform service providers and practitioners about corporal punishment research and legislation. It outlines recent research literature (from 2000 to 2016) and discusses the use and effects of corporal punishment on children. It explores the factors that influence the use of corporal punishment and provides a brief overview of alternative disciplinary techniques. Finally, it summarises current legislation regarding the use of corporal punishment as a means of disciplining children in Australia.
Information is current at the time of publication. Individuals are encouraged to check the currency of any information that is provided by contacting relevant departments or organisations.
What is corporal punishment?
Corporal punishment is defined as the use of physical force towards a child for the purpose of control and/or correction. It is a disciplinary technique applied to the body with the “intention of causing some degree of pain or discomfort, however light” (United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child [UNCRC], 2006). Corporal punishment is also known as physical punishment, smacking, spanking, belting or hitting (Saunders, 2013).
Corporal punishment or physical abuse?
Defining physical punishment remains a contested exercise. For example, in 2014, UNICEF defined physical punishment as a form of violence because it includes kicking, shaking, biting and forcing a child to stay in uncomfortable positions (UNCRC, 2006). These terms are also synonymous with physical abuse and therefore make it difficult to clearly distinguish the two (Gershoff, 2002a).
In Australia, the degree of physical punishment that a parent or carer can use with a child is subject to legal regulation (see The Australian Legal Context). Corporal punishment by a parent or carer is lawful and is not considered child abuse provided that it is “reasonable”. However, a definition of “reasonable” is not specified in all legislation and there is “no consensus in the community as to what constitutes reasonable punishment” (Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, 2003, p. 3).
Common measures of “reasonable” physical punishment are concerned with:
- the age and size of the child;
- the method of punishment;
- the child’s capacity for reasoning (i.e., whether the child is able to comprehend correction/discipline); and
- the harm caused to the child (Bourke, 1981).
New South Wales is the only state in Australia that has stipulated what is deemed “unreasonable” corporal punishment. The Crimes Amendment (Child Protection-Physical Mistreatment) Act 2001 (NSW) states that force applied to any part of the head or neck of a child or to any other part of the body that results in bruising, marking or other injury lasting longer than a “short period” is unreasonable.
If you require information about what is considered abusive and neglectful behaviour and the circumstances in which the state is mandated to intervene to protect a child see: Australian legal definitions: When is a child in need of protection?
If you require detailed information about child abuse and neglect see: What is child abuse and neglect?
What does research tell us about the use of corporal punishment towards children?
Research suggests that worldwide approximately six in ten children aged between 2 and 14 years are subjected to corporal punishment by a caregiver (UNICEF, 2014).
There has been considerable debate regarding the effect that corporal punishment has on child wellbeing. The first and most cited research was a seminal meta-analysis conducted by Gershoff in 2002. This concluded that physical punishment leads to various negative outcomes for children including child aggression, lower levels of moral internalisation and poorer mental health. Subsequent research conducted by Baumrind, Larzelere, and Cowan (2002); Larzelere and Kuhn (2005) and Ferguson (2013) has questioned the quality of Gershoff’s 2002 study and contended that it misrepresented the relationship between corporal punishment and negative child outcomes. Baumrind et al. (2002) critiqued Gershoff’s definition of corporal punishment by arguing that it allowed for both children who had experienced milder forms of corporal punishment such as smacking and children who had experienced serious physical abuse to be included in the same study. The inclusion of methodologically weak studies was also raised as a concern for the reliability of the results (Ferguson, 2013).
A recently revised and high quality meta-analysis by Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor (2016) responded to these concerns. The research aimed to determine whether the effect of corporal punishment on child wellbeing was different to the effect of physical abuse. It also investigated whether corporal punishment is only found to have a negative effect on children in less rigorous, “weaker” study designs. Results indicated that 13 out of the 17 outcomes measured were significantly associated with corporal punishment. The outcomes included antisocial behaviour, external behaviour problems, low moral internalisation, aggression, mental health problems, negative parent–child relationships, impaired cognitive ability, low self-esteem and risk of physical abuse from parents. The results also indicated that children who are physically punished are just as “likely to defy their parents when they spank as comply with them” (p. 12). Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor suggested that future research will be needed to substantiate this.
Further findings indicated that:
- There is an association between the use of spanking and the risk of physical abuse.
- Corporal punishment and physical abuse are both affiliated with similar, negative child outcomes.
- Being physically punished as a child is linked with being more supportive of using corporal punishment as an adult.
- There was no significant difference for the effect of spanking on child wellbeing between “methodologically strong” and “methodologically weak” studies.
Research in Australia has documented retrospective accounts of punishment styles experienced by the adult children of twins from the Australian Twin Registry. This research by Lynch and colleagues (2006) found that controlled corporal punishment (defined as spanking or smacking) was only weakly associated with negative outcomes for children, but that harsh corporal punishment was strongly associated with poor behavioural and emotional outcomes. Having access to longitudinal data from the parental twins’ childhood punishment experiences, as well as the experiences of their offspring, allowed this research to statistically control for genetic and environmental factors. The results indicated that the type of punishment a parent engages in has an influence (i.e., environmental factors had a greater impact than genetics alone) on a child’s behavioural and emotional outcomes (Lynch et al., 2006).
It is difficult to identify a direct causal link between negative child outcomes and corporal punishment (Baumrind et al., 2002; Beckett, 2005). This is due to the unethical nature of conducting a randomised control trial whereby some children are deliberately punished and others are not (Gershoff, 2010). Nonetheless, the revised meta-analysis by Gershoff and Grogan-Kaylor (2016) and the twin study conducted by Lynch and colleagues (2006) highlighted the negative outcomes associated with corporal punishment. Current evidence suggests that, when compared to other forms of discipline, there is no clear benefit or positive outcome for using corporal punishment (Ferguson, 2013). Research into the effect of discipline on children remains an important area of focus.
What do children say about corporal punishment?
Research undertaken by Saunders (2013) explored how children perceive and experience physical punishment. Common themes that emerged from children’s perspectives included that physical punishment:
- hurts physically and can escalate in severity;
- arouses negative emotions including anger, sadness, fear and confusion;
- disrupts learning and teaches children that violence is a means of resolving conflict;
- is used when parents are angry and not in control of their emotions;
- diminishes positive relationships by creating a sense of vulnerability to the actions of caregivers; and
- is considered a normal and inevitable experience of childhood.
Children also emphasised a desire for more consistent and clearer communication from caregivers when they are being disciplined (Saunders, 2013).
In what circumstances are children more likely to experience corporal punishment?
Research shows that children between the ages of 3 and 5 years and children who exhibit challenging behaviours and difficult temperaments are more likely than other children to be the recipients of corporal punishment (Smith, Gollop, Taylor, & Marshall, 2004). In addition, according to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children (GIEACPC) (2012), children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to violent punishment, with research indicating they are 3.6 times more likely than children without a disability to experience physical violence, including spanking (Jones et al., 2012).
There are also clear gender differences, with boys more likely to experience corporal punishment than girls (Smith et al., 2004). Within the family setting, contextual factors such as family structure (e.g., number of children), economic disadvantage and family stress increase the likelihood that parents will use physical punishment as a disciplinary method. In addition, Smith et al. (2004) argued that a wider social context that effectively sanctions the use of physical punishment contributes to its continuation.
Cultural and societal norms regarding the use of corporal punishment influence a caregiver’s use of it as a disciplinary method. The importance of considering cultural beliefs regarding corporal punishment when working with families has been substantiated by Kolar and Soriano (2000). The research documented the child-rearing practices of Anglo, Vietnamese and Torres Strait Islander parents in Australia. The study found that beliefs about child-rearing practices and physical punishment varied between the three groups and stressed the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding when working with culturally and linguistically diverse families.
For more information on working with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds see the Kids Matter Cultural diversity and children’s wellbeing resourceand another resource from the Kids Matter website Services and support for professionals working with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families.
Alternatives to corporal punishment
There are many alternative techniques that can be used to discipline children. Supporting families to develop positive parenting and improving the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children is supported by the Families Support Program and the National Framework for Protection of Australia’s Children 2009–2020. The framework aims to complement work done by states and territories by providing integrated services for families with skilled family support and early childhood workers. Through this work, education regarding positive parenting is disseminated in parent education programs and early childhood health care and education activities (Attorney-General’s Department, c. 2012).
An important component in all disciplinary strategies is to maintain parental consistency. Parenting that is inconsistent can be confusing for children and lead to misbehaviour. Research from the Growing Up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) shows that inconsistent parenting is strongly associated with behavioural problems in children, including conduct problems, low prosocial behaviour, hyperactivity, emotional difficulties and problems relating to peers (Smart, Sanson, Baxter, Edwards, & Hayes, 2008). When parents are consistent in their disciplinary strategies, children learn what to expect from their parents if they misbehave. Children are less likely to test boundaries or push limits that are firmly set and when they know the consequences of poor behaviour (Spock & Needlmen, 2009).
The research from LSAC also showed that behavioural problems were strongly linked with higher levels of parental hostility. Children are four times more likely to have conduct problems and twice as likely to have hyperactivity problems when experiencing hostile parenting (Smart et al., 2008). Evidence suggests that warmth and affection in parent–child relationships is linked with more positive outcomes for children (Smart et al., 2008). In LSAC, higher parental warmth was shown to reduce the risk of conduct problems, peer problems and low prosocial behaviour in children 4–5 years of age (Smart et al., 2008). Therefore, the effect of discipline is likely to be influenced by the overall quality of the parent–child relationship, whether parenting is generally hostile and the degree of consistency in relation to the type of discipline used (Gershoff, 2002a).
For more information on discipline strategies see the Parenting Research Centre’s Raising Children Network, which provides helpful and practical advice about disciplining children of all ages.
The Australian legal context
Historically, all Australian states and territories had some form of policy or legislation that allowed for “reasonable chastisement” by a parent or person in place of a parent (e.g., teachers) as a means of discipline (Cashmore & de Haas, 1995; Saunders & Goddard, 2010). Legislation across all states and territories concerning the use of corporal punishment has been the subject of substantive review.
The criminal defence of “reasonable chastisement” used by way of correction remains a common defence to support the use of corporal punishment. Such a defence allows a parent or person acting in loco parentis (i.e., in place of a parent, for example a teacher, carer or guardian) charged with assaulting a child in their care to argue that the assault was justified as they were using reasonable force to discipline or correct the child (Milfull & Schetzer, 2000; Saunders & Goddard, 2010).
In the sections that follow, information is presented about the current laws on the use of corporal punishment. Table 1 documents details of current law by state and territory on the use of punishment by parents. Table 2 and Table 3 provide details of current law by state and territory regarding the use of corporal punishment in early education and child care centres and primary and secondary schools, respectively. Table 4 outlines details of current law by state and territory on the use of corporal punishment in alternative care settings, including out-of-home residential care and foster care.
Corporal punishment by parents
It remains lawful for parents in all jurisdictions to use “reasonable” corporal punishment to discipline their children. In some jurisdictions, a parent’s right to use corporal punishment is provided for in legislation (e.g., New South Wales), while in others it is provided for by the common law, or “judge-made law” (e.g., Victoria; see Table 1).
New South Wales is the only state to have made legislative amendments concerning corporal punishment by parents. The Crimes Amendment (Child Protection-Physical Mistreatment) Act 2001 (NSW) prompted debate concerning the degree (if any) of physical force appropriate to use when disciplining children and, more generally, the status of children’s rights in Australia (Milfull & Schetzer, 2000).
|State||Legislation Act or Criminal Code||Legislation and or common law relating to corporal punishment by parents|
|ACT||Common law defence||
The ACT has no legislation concerning the use of corporal punishment by parents.
At present, the defence of “reasonable chastisement” remains in common law.
The Crimes Amendment (Child Protection-Physical Mistreatment) Act 2001 (NSW) introduced an amendment specifying that physical punishment by a parent should not harm a child more than briefly and specifies the parts of a child’s body that can be subject to force.
This amendment to the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) did not entirely remove parental capacity for corporal punishment nor explicitly ban the use of physical force towards children, but it did introduce strict guidelines on what is acceptable.
|NT||On the basis of the Criminal Code Act (NT), it is lawful for parents and teachers (unless parents expressly withhold their consent) to apply force to a child for the purposes of discipline and correction.|
The Criminal Code Act 1899 states that:
It is lawful for a parent to “use, by way of correction, discipline, management or control, toward a child or pupil, under the person’s care, such force that is reasonable under the circumstances.
There is no legislation that explicitly provides for the use of corporal punishment by parents in South Australia.
There is a section in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) that provides for contact between persons that would generally be regarded as accepted within the community.
There also exists a common law defence of “reasonable chastisement”.
Physical punishment by a parent towards a child remains lawful under the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas.).
The Act reads:
It is lawful for a parent or a person in the place of a parent to use, by way of correction, any force towards a child in his or her care that is reasonable in the circumstances.
Common law defence
There is no legislation concerning corporal punishment by parents in Victoria, however, there is a common law defence for parental use of corporal punishment.
Victorian common law allows parents to administer corporal punishment to children in their charge provided the punishment is neither unreasonable nor excessive.
|WA||Criminal Code Act 1913 (WA) s 257||
Under the Criminal Code Act 1913 (WA) it remains lawful for parents to physically discipline their children.
Section 257 of the code states that:
It is lawful for a parent or a person in the place of a parent to use, by way of correction, toward a child or pupil under his care, such force as is reasonable under the circumstances.
Corporal punishment in early education and child care settings
In 2011, the Education and Care Services National Law was introduced by way of an applied law system where the host jurisdiction (Victoria) passed the law (Education and Care Service National Law Act 2010) and other jurisdictions adopted that law or passed corresponding legislation (Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), 2013a).
Under the Education and Care Service National Law Act 2010 (Vic.) section 166 it is an offence for a provider, nominated supervisor, staff member, volunteer or family day care educator of an approved education and care service to subject a child to any form of corporal punishment. This prohibition is also contained within the National Quality Standards (ACECQA, 2013b). However, not all jurisdictions have specifically included corporal punishment as an offence under individual state and territory education and care services legislation. Variations to the applied law by jurisdiction are described in Table 2 below.
|State||Legislation Act or Criminal Code||Legislation and or common law relating to corporal punishment in education and care settings|
The ACT has adopted the National Law Act and refers to section 20 of the Children and Young People Act 2008 for corresponding law regarding prohibition of corporal punishment.
The Child and Young People Act also states that a person responsible for a child care service commits an offence if they use unreasonable discipline in the form of physical punishment or any behaviour management strategy likely to cause physical harm to a child, which includes but is not limited to smacking.
New South Wales has adopted the National Law Act prohibiting the use of corporal punishment by providers, nominated supervisors, staff members, volunteers and family day care providers of an approved education and care service (see Part 6, section 166).
The Children’s Services Regulation 2004 (s 65) states that child behavioural modification techniques should “not include physical, verbal or emotional punishment, including, for example, punishment that humiliates, frightens or threatens the child.”
Criminal Code Act (s 27)
Corporal punishment is only prohibited in approved early education and child care settings.
The Criminal Code Act states it is lawful to use force “to discipline, manage or control” a child. This law applies to non-approved child care services.
However, the Northern Territory has adopted the National Law Act prohibiting the use of corporal punishment by providers, nominated supervisors, staff members, volunteers and family day care providers of an approved education and care service.
|Qld||Child Protection Act 1999 (s 122)||The Child Protection Act 1999 (s 122)states that “techniques for managing the child’s behaviour must not include corporal punishment or punishment that humiliates, frightens or threatens the child in a way that is likely to cause emotional harm.”|
|SA||Children’s Services (Child Care Centres) Regulations 1998 (s 39)||
South Australia has adopted the National Law Act prohibiting the use of corporal punishment by providers, nominated supervisors, staff members, volunteers and family day care providers of an approved education and care service (see Part 6, section 166).
The Child Care Centres Regulation 1998 (s 39) states that:
Behaviour management techniques used should not include physical, verbal or emotional punishment, including, for example, punishment that humiliates, frightens or threatens the child.
Corporal punishment is prohibited in some, not all early education and childcare settings.
The Criminal Code Act states that corporal punishment is lawful in child care settings under the authority to use force “by way of correction”.
However, the Education and Care Services National Law (Application) Act 2011 and Education Act 1994 prohibits the use of corporal punishment in all schools.
|Vic.||Children’s Services Act 1996 (s 28)||
In initiating the National Law Act, the Victorian Act prohibits the use of corporal punishment by providers, nominated supervisors, staff members, volunteers and family day care providers of an approved education and care service (see Part 6, section 166).
The Children’s Services Act 1996 also refers to the prohibited use of corporal punishment in child services and family day care settings.
WA has adopted the National Law Act prohibiting the use of corporal punishment by providers, nominated supervisors, staff members, volunteers and family day care providers of an approved education and care service (see Part 6, section 166).
The Child Care Services (Child Care) Regulation 2006 (s 85) also refers to the prohibited use of corporal punishment in child care settings.
Corporal punishment in primary and secondary schools
New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria are the only states that have explicitly prohibited the use of corporal punishment in all schools. While the ACT has not explicitly banned corporal punishment in non-government schools, the current interpretation of the law is that the ban applies to all school contexts.
There remains some ambiguity in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australian law, where amendments have been made to education legislation that previously allowed for the use of physical punishment, but not to criminal codes that still (in principle) give authority to a parent, or a person in place of a parent, to “use reasonable corrective force” (see Table 3). Therefore, the consequence of using corporal punishment in the school setting is dependent on whether a child attends a government or non-government school.
|State||Relevant Legislative Act or Criminal Code||Legislation regarding the use of corporal punishment in government and non-government schools|
|ACT||Education Act 2004 (ACT) s 7(4)||
Corporal punishment was banned in schools in 1997 under the Education (Amendment) Act 2004 (ACT).
The purpose of the act was to ban punishment in “all schools”. The Act does not explicitly state that it relates to both government and non-government schools; however, the interpretation is that it applies to both.
|NSW||The Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) No 104a s 166 2010||
Corporal punishment was banned in government schools in NSW pursuant to the Education Act 1990 (NSW). An amendment to the Act (the Education Discipline Act 1995, which came into effect in 1997) extended the ban on corporal punishment to non-government schools.
The Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) No 104a 2010 states that it is an offence for an approved provider of an education and care service to subject a child being educated and cared for by a service to use any form of corporal punishment or any unreasonable discipline in the circumstances.
|NT||Education and Care Services (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 NT||
In the Education and Care Services (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 not all education settings are prohibited from using corporal punishment.
In 2009, the Northern Territory amended the Education Act requiring that the use of corporal punishment be banned in non-government schools as part of the school registration requirements.
There is currently no provision banning or permitting the use of corporal punishment in government schools. The Criminal Code Act (NT) still makes it lawful for teachers to use corporal punishment unless parents expressly withhold their consent to such forms of correction.
|Qld||Criminal Code Act 1899 (280)||
Queensland prohibited the use of corporal punishment in state schools in 1989 by repealing provisions that allowed for it in the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld).
For corporal punishment in non-state schools the Criminal Code Act section 280 states:
It is lawful for a person in the place of a parent, or for a schoolteacher or master, to use, by way of correction, discipline, management or control, towards a child or pupil, under the person’s care such force as is reasonable under the circumstances.
|SA||Education (Amendment) Act 1991 (SA)||
South Australia repealed provisions that allowed for corporal punishment in schools in 1991 in the Education (Amendment) Act 1991 (SA).
Prohibition of corporal punishment is also included in the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011.
Education Act 1994 (Tas.) s 82A
Corporal punishment was banned in both government and non-government schools in 1999 under the Education Amendment Act 1999 (Tas.).
The amendment specified that the principals of both state and registered schools are responsible for ensuring that students under their care are not subjected to corporal punishment.
Education and Training Reform Regulations (reg 14) 2007
Corporal punishment was banned in government schools in 1985. It was banned in non-government schools in 2006 following the enactment of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic.).
The prohibition of corporal punishment is also outlined in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007 and the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010.
The Criminal Code Act
Corporal punishment is banned in government schools under the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2012 (WA)
The School Education Regulations 2000 state that a student at a government school is not to be disciplined by way of corporal punishment.
Regulations banning corporal punishment do not extend to non-government schools. The Criminal Code Act section 257 states that it is lawful to use “such force as is reasonable under the circumstances”.
Corporal punishment in alternative residential care settings
In residential care settings including residential centres and foster care, corporal punishment is prohibited in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
Corporal punishment remains lawful in Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory (see Table 4).
|State||Relevant Legislative Act or Criminal Code||Legislation regarding the use of corporal punishment in alternative care settings|
|ACT||Children and Young People Act 2008 (s 741)||The Children and Young People Act 2008 states that it is an offence to use physical punishment towards a child.|
|NSW||Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Regulation 2012 (s 41)||The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection Regulation 2000) under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 prohibits the use of corporal punishment of a child in out-of-home care.|
|NT||Criminal Code Act (s 27)||The Criminal Code Act states it is reasonable to use force “to discipline, manage or control” a child.|
|Qld||Child Protection Act 1999 (s 122)||The Child Protection Act 1999 prohibits the use of corporal punishment of a child placed in care.|
|SA||Family and Community Services Regulations 2009||The Family and Community Services Regulations 2009 under the Family and Community Services Act 1972 prohibits the use of corporal punishment of a child placed in care.|
|Tas.||Criminal Code Act (s 50)||The Criminal Code Act states that it is lawful for “a person in the place of a parent to use, by way of correction, any force towards a child in his or her care that is reasonable in the circumstances.”|
|Vic.||Common law||Under common law, it is lawful to use corporal punishment in an alternative residential setting.|
|WA||Criminal Code Act (s 257)||The Criminal Code Act states it is lawful “to use, by way of correction, towards a child such force as is reasonable under the circumstances.”|
The international picture
Internationally, 52 countries have prohibited corporal punishment in all settings. A further 56 countries have committed to achieving a complete legal ban (GIEACPC, 2016). The use of corporal punishment in schools has been prohibited in 128 countries. Only 57 countries have fully prohibited corporal punishment in alternative care settings including day care. In 2007, New Zealand became the first English speaking country to ban corporal punishment in all settings (GIEACPC, 2017).
For more details and a complete list of countries that have prohibited corporal punishment of children refer to the GIEACPC website
Conclusion and further reading
The acceptability, consequences and legality of using corporal punishment towards children are dependent on the context in which the corporal punishment takes place. Research suggests that there is limited evidence to support any positive outcomes associated with corporal punishment and that there are alternative disciplinary measure that can be used (Ferguson, 2013; Gershoff, 2010).
For more information on the issue of corporal punishment, see:
Attorney-General’s Department. (c. 2012). Australia’s response to the list of issues—Convention on the Rights of the Child. Barton, ACT: Attorney-General’s Office. Retrieved from <www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights/TreatyBodyReporting/Pages/default.aspx>
Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority. (2013a). National law Sydney: ACECQA. Retrieved from <www.acecqa.gov.au/National-Law>.
Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority. (2013b). Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 Sydney: ACECQA. Retrieved from <http://files.acecqa.gov.au/files/National-Quality-Framework-Resources-Kit/NQF02-Guide-to-ECS-Law-and-Regs-130902.pdf>.
Baumrind, D., Larzelere, R. E., & Cowan, P. A. (2002). Ordinary physical punishment: Is it harmful? Comment on Gershoff. Psychological Bulletin, 128(4), 580-589.
Beckett, C. (2005). The Swedish myth: The corporal punishment ban and child death statistics. British Journal of Social Work, 35, 125-138.
Bourke, J. P. (1981). Bourke’s criminal law: Victoria. Sydney: Butterworths.
Cashmore, J., & de Haas, N. (1995). Legal and social aspects of the physical punishment of children. Canberra: Department of Human Services and Health.
Ferguson, C. J. (2013). Spanking, corporal punishment and negative long-term outcomes: A meta-analytic review of longitudinal studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 196-208.
Gershoff, E. T. (2002a). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 124(4), 539-579.
Gershoff, E. (2002b), Corporal Punishment, Physical Abuse, and the Burden of Proof: Reply to Baumrind, Larzelere, and Cowan (2002), Holden (2002), and Parke (2002). Psychological Bulletin, 128(4), 602-611.
Gershoff, E. T. (2010). More harm than good: A summary of scientific research on the intended and unintended effects of corporal punishment on children, Law and Contemporary Problems. 73, 31-56.
Gershoff, E., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2016). Spanking and child outcomes: Old controversies and new meta-analyses, Family Psychology, 30(4), 453-469.
Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children (GIEACPC). (2012). Ending legalised violence against children: Global report 2012 (PDF 1.5 MB). London, UK: Association for the Protection of All Children. Retrieved from <www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pages/pdfs/reports/GlobalReport2012.pdf>.
Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. (2016). Ending legalised violence against children: Global progress to December 2016. London: Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. Retrieved from <endcorporalpunishment.org/assets/pdfs/reports-global/Global-report-2016.pdf>.
Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. (2017). Global Newsletter (Issue 36, February 2017). London: Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment. Retrieved from <www.endcorporalpunishment.org/assets/pdfs/newsletters/Global-newsletter-36.pdf>.
Jones, L., Bellis, M. A., Wood, S., Hughes, K., McCoy, E., Eckley, L. et al. (2012). Prevalence and risk of violence against children with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. The Lancet, 380, 899-907.
Kolar, V., & Soriano, G. (2000). Parenting in Australian families: A comparative study of Anglo, Vietnamese and Torres Strait Islander parents. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Larzelere, R. E., & Kuhn, B. R. (2005). Comparing child outcomes ofphysical punishment and alternative disciplinary tactics: A meta-analysis. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 8, 1–37.
Lynch, S. K., Turheimer, E., D’Onofrio, B. M., Mendle, J., Emery, R. E., Slutske, W.S., & Martin, M.G. (2006). A genetically informed study of the association between harsh punishment and offspring behavioural problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(2), 190-198.
Milfull, C., & Schetzer, L. (2000). Sufficient protection for Australian children’s rights? Beyond the Corbett Bill: A comparative analysis of attitudes and legal responses to corporal punishment in the home. Sydney, NSW: National Children’s and Youth Law Centre.
Paolucci, E. O., & Violato, C. (2004). A meta-analysis of the published research on the affective, cognitive, and behavioral effects of corporal punishment. The Journal of Psychology, 138, 197-221.
Saunders, B. J. (2013). Ending the physical punishment of children by parents in the English-speaking world: The impact of language, tradition and law. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 21, (2), 278-304.
Saunders, B. J., & Goddard, C. (2010). Physical punishment in childhood: the rights of the child. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Smart, D., Sanson, A., Baxter, J., Edwards, B., & Hayes, A. (2008). Home-to-school transitions for financially disadvantaged children: Final report. Sydney & Melbourne: The Smith Family and Australian Institute of Family Studies. Retrieved from <www.thesmithfamily.com.au/~/media/Files/Research%20and %20Advocacy%20PDFs/Research%20and%20Evaluation%20 archive%20PDFs/home-school-summary-2008.ashx>.
Smith, A. B., Gollop, M. M., Taylor, N. J., & Marshall, K. A. (2004). The discipline and guidance of children: A summary of research. Dunedin, NZ: Children’s Issues Centre, University of Otago and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
Spock, B., & Needlman, R. (2009). About discipline. Raising Children Network. Retrieved from <raisingchildren.net.au/articles/discipline_introduction.html>
Tasmanian Law Reform Institute. (2003). Physical Punishment of Children Final Report No. 4. Hobart: Tasmanian Law Reform Institute. Retrieved from <www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/283784/PhysPunFinalReport.pdf>.
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. (2006). Convention on the Rights of the Child: General comment no. 8. Geneva: General Assembly of the United Nations. Retrieved from <tinyurl.com/yaqch69>.
UNICEF. (2014). Hidden in plain sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children. New York: The United Nations. Retrieved from <www.unicef.org/publications/index_74865.html>.
Authors and Acknowledgements
Statutory definitions of child sexual abuse compiled for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Examines the role of the media in publicising child abuse and protection, and its contribution to public and political discourse about the topic.
Overview of parent education and the effectiveness of parent education interventions in the prevention of child maltreatment.
Review of the literature on intergenerational transmission of maltreatment, and whether and how maltreated children become abusive parents.
The Protecting Australia's Children: Research and Evaluation Register is a searchable database of 944 research and evaluation projects related to protecting children. A range of filtering options enable easy access to relevant Australian research conducted between 2011 and 2015.