Child Abuse

Keep 43 is vehemently opposed to child abuse in all its forms. That is exactly why Canada should be commended for having the most optimally balanced laws allowing parents reasonable latitude to enforce behaviour in non-abusive ways while clearly delineating abuse and allowing for the prosecution of it.


Did you know? ...of all the parental spanking bans in the world, not even ONE ban has:


1) convincingly reduced child abuse, violence on or by children & youth, societal violence, or rape of children;


2) reduced alcoholism, drug addiction, and related mental health issues. In fact, this 26-country comparative illustrates no difference between allowed countries and ban countries in the short term. However, once bans have been in place over 20 years, the countries with those growing up under these bans demonstrate an increasing Rate-of-Change in alcoholism and the highest absolute drug-induced death rates;


3) made children more polite, respectful, better-behaved or more well-adjusted.


The opposite occurs so persistently that the link between "spanking bans" and substantially increased harms is already as clear as the link between smoking and cancer.

Sweden - the first country to ban spanking in 1979

One oft-cited opinion is that 75% of abuse stems from physical punishment gone too far. The simplistic implication is that banning spanking should drop child abuse dramatically. This opinion is repeatedly proven false: not only do world-wide observations consistently show that abusers will abuse regardless of any law, but the optimal parenting styles which most rely on occasional spanking as a back-up enforcement "Authoritative" are also the LEAST LIKELY to abuse their children (see Parenting Styles, next tab).


Sweden is a perfect example: it was a very peaceful and non-violent society before adopting their spanking ban. IF it were true that 75% of physical abuse stems from normative parental spanking gone too far, then logically the child abuse rate in Sweden should have dropped rapidly to 25% of pre-ban rates.


However, the opposite occurred entirely disproving this myth: physical abuse doubled in the first year, by 10 years out it rose to 3 times the US per-capita rate and by 2010, serious assaults on children rocketed to over 2,200% of pre-ban rates.


These bans consistently create the opposite of the intent and have needlessly induced harm on many Swedish children because someone placed their ideology ahead of genuine concern for children's welfare.

WHY do spanking bans increase child abuse? Science Shows...

REASON 1: The main reason is that the most effective enforcement method is removed. The alternatives provided are prevention tools, NOT enforcement replacements. Enforcements are used after preventions and interventions have been tried and failed. The result? Many Swedish parents feel they can neither control the child’s behavior nor tolerate its effect upon themselves, and this ultimately culminates in explosive attacks of rage against their own kids, which then becomes REAL physical assault. (see also "Claims & Research" tab, under "2. Parenting Styles")



REASON 2: Once the distinction between constructive discipline and physical abuse is removed, then no limit exists on the degree of force used by abusive/aggressive parents, which promotes various types of serious physical assault.


The science on parenting styles convincingly shows it is not the parents who occasionally and constructively spank that become abusers (these are diagonally negatively correlated). Rather, it is the abusive parents who may also coincidentally spank. Banning spanking simply encourages this cohort to intensify alternate abusive enforcements. This is already proven by world-wide observations. 



REASON 3: Research shows that bans reduce spanking rates by shifting parents to alternate enforcement options. One alternate is confinements (time-out, sent to bedroom, grounded) and these are fine when they work. Yet, they induce physical assault where force must be used on children who refuse to comply with confinements.


However; the commonly reported substitutes are abusive: pushing, shoving, shaking and restraining, screaming and verbal put-downs, sarcasm, shaming & humiliation, being intentionally ignored (removal of affection), and withholding food. None of these are constructive consequences, yet they are the most common punishment alternatives reported where spanking is banned. Source



REASON 4: Criminalizing most parents opens up families to harassment and persecution by the Child Welfare Industry. At the time of Sweden's ban, their population was 8M. The State subsequently seized 22,000 children from loving families where they were at no risk of harm, and alienated them from their families by vending them into a foster-care & adoption system. "About 22,000 Swedish children were removed from homes in 1981, compared with 1,900 in Germany, 710 in Denmark, 552 in Finland, and 163 in Norway." (Source)

In 1981, Sweden apprehended per-capita 2,644 children vs. 77, the median of the four surrounding countries. That’s 3,400% of median. It is not reasonable to believe that Swedish parents are 34 times more abusive than parents in surrounding countries so it is apparent that these injunctions are not used for the sole purpose of protecting children.


Sweden’s child protection service has morphed into a legalized child-trafficking industry. Children are routinely abducted from safe and loving homes and vended into the foster-care or adoption industry for profit. Sweden’s system can earn up to €1,200 per stolen child per day4, making this a very lucrative child-trafficking operation.


In fact, “Swedish children can now be taken for any reason or no reason at all” 4. Removing children from safe and loving homes can potentially place them in quite harmful environments, such as the sex-trafficking or pornography industries.


When child apprehensions are primarily motivated by “protection” quotas and revenue, this leads to violations of children’s rights, not protection of them. Reports of such frequently emanate from both Sweden, and Norway’s State-run “Barnevernet” protection systems. It appears that laws which criminalize normative operations of parenting are susceptible as a convenient excuse to facilitate this.

IF Canada, with 35M population replicates this, that amounts to an additional 100,000 children seized and placed in harms way.


Did you know? Children placed in forster care are:

- 20X more likely to be abused,

- have a 20% chance of suffering PTSD from abuse,

- and are 25X more likely to become maladjusted violent youths.


These are the actual effects of such bans.


Sweden and Norway use anti-spanking laws to tear up families by seizing & trafficking children into the state/foster-care & adoption industry for profit.


Click here for a 13 minute presentation on Sweden's child-abuse industry. Canadian laws currently protect loving & safe homes from this horrendous attack on families. 

Sweden: The Canary in the Coal Mine - How the Abolition of Traditional Parenting Ultimately Destroys a Society
Sweden - The Canary in the Coal Mine.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.5 MB]

Spanking bans increase child abuse, but what about violence?

Did children become more peaceful after Sweden's spanking ban? Once the first generation of Swedish children, raised without constructive physical discipline became teens, they were 519% as violent as their predecessors raised with traditional parenting. The newly discovered positive parenting styles continued to breed increasingly violent youth to the point where...


In 2005 "Rough Guide" (an international travel group) issued a travel advisory for families to avoid travel in Sweden because of their ill-behaved and violent children.


By 2010, Swedish child-on-child violence was up 2,500% from pre-ban ratesAlso by 2010, Rape of adults was UP 700%, but horrendously, rape of children under 15 was UP 7,200%. IF spanking bans were the panacea to social ills, why have all these social ills exploded in Sweden?


In 2012, tens of thousands of Swedes protested in the streets against the uncontrolled youth violence.


Just this ONE observation dispells all the propaganda denigrating effective and constructive parenting. Yet, various organisations are hoping to introduce this into Canada. We are adamant to keep all this violence out of Canada. The best way to optimally protect children, family and society, as all world evidence is undeniably proving up, is to Keep 43.


Sources of these facts are available below:

Swedish Trends in Criminal Assaults against Minors since Banning Spanking, 1981-2010
Citation:Robert E. Larzelere, Taren Swindle and Byron R. Johnson, Swedish Trends in Criminal Assaults against Minors since Banning Spanking, 1981-2010, International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, 2013, 2, 129-137
2013 Larzelere, Swedish trends 1981-2010[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [375.7 KB]
The Science and Statistics Behind Spanking Suggest that Laws Allowing Corporal Punishment are in the Best Interests of the Child
Citation: Fuller, Jason, The Science and Statistics Behind Spanking Suggest that Laws Allowing Corporal Punishment are in the Best Interests of the Child (March 11, 2009). Akron Law Review, Vol. 42, No. 243, 2009.
2009 Fuller - The Science and Statistics[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [790.8 KB]
Corporal Punishment and Child Development
Citation: Fuller, Jason, Corporal Punishment and Child Development. Akron Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2010.
2010 Fuller - CP Child Development.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [530.1 KB]

New Zealand (NZ)

NZ banned "smacking" (spanking) in 2007 by repealing Sec. 59 of their criminal code similar to Canada’s Sec.43. 


Child abuse rates advanced every year since the 2007 ban. By 2013, serious assaults on children had already doubled (chart below). In neighboring Australia (where spanking is as common as in Canada), child abuse rates peaked in 2008 and have declined since then. NZ's per-capita child abuse rate is now TRIPLE Australia's thanks to their spanking ban.

citation: Johnson, Alan, "Striking a Better Balance: A State of the Nation Report from the Salvation Army", The Salvation Army Social Policy and Parlimentary Unit,. New Zealand, February 2014, "Figure 2: Offences against children 2008–2013", p.19

A Canadian ban would follow the NZ model by repealing Sec.43 and de facto criminalizing the 82% of parents who constructively discipline. Therefore, Canada should expect an increase in good parents moving through criminal courts concurrent with a notable increase in serious assaults on children, as NZ is proving. Not surprisingly, the Canadian Bar Association supports criminalizing parents. We're not interested in increasing legal fee income for lawyers; we're interested in the genuine protection of children and families.


NZ's 2007 ban is a textbook example of how forcing all parents into the positive-permissive-disengaged spectrum produces inferior results and greater harms on children vs. Authoritative Parenting.


Since that ban, Children with serious emotional and / or behavioural problems has more than doubled. source below



2016 Defying Human Nature
An Analysis of New Zealand’s 2007 Anti-Smacking Law
2016 NZ Defying-Human-Nature.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [6.8 MB]


In a letter addressed to Ministers of Justice, we observed:


Such spanking-ban polices only benefit Child Protection Workers’ job security, as resources are deployed to investigate every incident where a parent enforces behavioural compliance by moderately smacking their child’s bottom.

Family Education Trust (UK) states, "A legal ban on the physical correction of children would inevitably lead to unnecessary police and social service investigations in families where children are at no risk of harm. In addition to the traumatic effect this would have on those families, it would vastly increase the caseload of social workers which could, in turn, lead to insufficient attention being given to children suffering serious abuse."


Children's Aid Societies have an extremely difficult and vital role to play in protecting children from abject abuse of all kinds. It is both a stressful and thankless job, so we commend those individuals who do it. 


However; CAS bodies often support spanking-bans in Canada. This is because they've been indoctrinated with false mythology, or are unable to differentiate between abuse and constructive discipline, and are often ignorant of what the specific laws are. That's why it's important to educate them on the laws, science, and actual facts in the matter. If they were aware of the harms these bans inflict, we believe they would never advocate hurting kids.


So, why do CAS bodies not educate their workers on this issue? Unfortunately, there is a glaring conflict of interest: Sweden proved "spanking bans" provide fertile hunting grounds to harm families for profit. CAS funding is proportional to caseload, which is a perverse motivation to manufacture victims where none exist, see Peel CAS for example. The damaging result of predatory laws is seized, alienated & abused children, and traumatized shattered families. 


Unfortunately for children, there is no motivation to create a framework that aligns their best interests.  

The Solution is Clear

Spanking bans have already existed for decades in some countries. An overwhelming body of evidence clearly shows these bans have not provided any meaningful benefit.


However; these bans have repeatedly inflicted a wide spectrum of very serious harms on children, families and their society. Just like Smoking is linked to cancer; the harms these "spanking" bans consistently inflict is now equally proven...


These is no longer any legitimate excuse for anyone to advocate "Repeal 43" and the intentional harms that criminalization of loving & firmly-guiding parenting systems brings. It's time to put the genuine interests of children and families AHEAD of the financial interests of CAS and others whose existence is predicated on expanding caseloads of "harmed" children.

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