Corporal punishment

punishment which is intended to cause physical pain to a person

Corporal punishment (also called physical punishment) is a punishment which is meant to cause physical pain on a person.

Giorgio Conrad, Punishment, around 1880

It is or has been used on adults, mostly on prisoners and people who are slaves. It is still used on adults in some countries, such as Singapore, where offenders are beaten with a special cane.

It is most often done on minors (children and teenagers). Common methods include spanking, belting and paddling.[1]

In some parts of the United States, corporal punishment is allowed in schools.[2] At home, corporal punishment is allowed.

Fifty-eight countries, mostly in Europe and Latin America, have banned corporal punishment in the home or at school.[3]

However, according to a 2014 estimate by Human Rights Watch, "Ninety percent of the world's children live in countries where corporal punishment and other physical violence against children is still legal".[4] Many countries' laws provide for a defence of "reasonable chastisement" against charges of assault and other crimes for parents using corporal punishment. In many countries people have decided for themselves to give up corporal punishment long before legislation was enacted.

Corporal punishment has been shown to cause aggression and behavior problems in some teenagers and children.[5]


  1. "Facts about Corporal Punishment". Verywell Family. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  2. Gershoff, E. T.; Font, S. A. (2016). "Corporal Punishment in U.S. Schools". Social Policy Report. 30. NIH: 1. doi:10.1002/j.2379-3988.2016.tb00086.x. PMC 5766273. PMID 29333055.
  3. Gershoff, E. T.; Font, S. A. (2016). "States Which Have Prohibited all Corporal Punishment". Social Policy Report. 30. Web Archive: 1. doi:10.1002/j.2379-3988.2016.tb00086.x. PMC 5766273. PMID 29333055.
  4. "25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child". Human Rights Watch. 17 November 2014.
  5. "Why Corporal Punishment for Children Doesn't Work". Motherly. Retrieved March 31, 2019.