"Keep 43" Defends Time-Tested
Proven Parenting Methods
We work to educate about and oppose harmful legislation
such as the government's attempts to criminalize traditional parenting (aka "repeal 43" via Bill S-206)

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 in child-rearing.

Did you know? of all the parental spanking bans in the world, not even one ban provided clear evidence of:

1) A reduction in child abuse, violence on or by children & youth, societal violence, or rape of children;
2) A reduction in alcoholism, drug addiction, and related mental health issues. In fact, this 26-country comparative illustrated that alcohol dependency and drug-induced death rates rose substantially after traditional parenting was criminalized 20 years or more;
3) An increase in polite, respectful, better-behaved or well-adjusted children.

In fact, the opposite occurs so persistently that the link between “spanking bans” and increased societal harms is as clear as the link between smoking and cancer.

Sweden – the first country to ban spanking in 1979

One oft-cited fallacy 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 backup enforcement are also the least likely to abuse their children.

Sweden is a perfect example: it was a very peaceful society before adopting its spanking ban. If it is 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 once the injunctions were enforced. However, the opposite occurred entirely disproving this myth.

Physical Assaults on children doubled in the first year. After Eight years out, Sweden’s physical child abuse rate was already triple the USA per-capita rate, and by 2010 the child abuse rate was about twenty-two times the 1981 rate. (citations below)

These bans clearly promote the exact opposite of what they were intended to accomplish.

Why do spanking bans increase child abuse?

Research suggests four factors that contribute to increased physical assaults on children where monir force in child-rearing is criminalized:

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 normative discipline and physical abuse is removed, then no limit exists on the degree of force used. This promotes aggressive-abusive parents, who ignore these law, to increase the amount of force used since it’s all illegal anyway.

Parenting-system science convincingly shows it is not the parents who occasionally and moderately spank that become abusers (these are diagonally negatively correlated). Rather, it is the abusive parents who may also coincidentally spank. Hence, banning spanking only removes it’s salutary use, but does not stop physical child-abusers.

Reason 3: Research shows that bans reduce spanking rates by shifting parents to alternate enforcement options. One alternate is confinements (timeout, confined to bedroom, grounding) 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 salutary consequences, yet they are the most commonly reported punishment alternatives where spanking is banned. (Source)

Reason 4: Criminalizing most parents opens up families to harassment and persecution by the child protection apparatus. 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 the 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)

1981-swedish-child-apprehensions.jpgIn 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 have nothing to do with actual child protection.

Sweden’s child protection apparatus 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 day, making this a very lucrative child-trafficking operation.

In fact, “Swedish children can now be taken for any reason or no reason at all”. (citation video linked below) 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 goals, 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 create a fertile hunting ground to feed this apparatus.

keep43 child abuse 001 imageIf Canada, with 35M population replicates this, that amounts to an additional 100,000 children seized and placed in harm’s way annually.

Did you know? Children placed in foster care are:
– 20X more likely to be abused
– have a 20% chance of suffering PTSD from abuse
– are 25X more likely to become maladjusted violent youths
– have 50% chance of involvement with the justice system

Click here for a 13 minute presentation on Sweden’s child protection apparatus. Canada’s balanced laws protect loving & safe homes from these types of assaults and over-reaches.

keep43 adobe pdf icon imageSweden: The Canary in the Coal Mine – How the Abolition of Traditional Parenting Ultimately Destroys a Society
Sweden – The Canary in the Coal Mine
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? The first cohort of Swedish children growing up under the spanking ban were 519% as violent as their predecessors raised with traditional parenting.

In 2005 “Rough Guide” issued an international travel advisory for families to avoid Sweden because of their ill-behaved and violent children.

By 2010, Swedish child-on-child violence was up 2,555% from pre-ban rates. Also 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 about exploding child & youth violence rates in Sweden dispels all the flawed science designed to denigrate traditional parenting systems.

Yet, various organisations continue to push criminalization of traditional parenting laws in Canada. We are adamant to keep all this violence out. The best way to optimally protect children, family and society, as all world evidence is undeniably proving up, is to defend the most balanced laws in this regard on the planet, and keep 43. Sources of above figures below:

keep43 adobe pdf icon imageSwedish 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]

keep43 adobe pdf icon imageThe 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]

keep43 adobe pdf icon imageCorporal 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 rate.

keep43 child abuse figure 2 chart image

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

NZ’s 2007 ban is a textbook example of how using the blunt instrument of criminal law to force all parents into a particular parenting approach produces inferior results. Another notable harm this caused NZ is that since their ban, children with serious emotional and / or behavioural problems has more than doubled. source below

keep43 adobe pdf icon image2016 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]

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.

These is no longer any legitimate reason for anyone to pursue these harmful policies. It’s time to put the genuine interests of children and families ahead of competing interests.