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Domestic violence remains part of daily life for many children

Published on October 27, 2020

One in 20 children in Switzerland is regularly beaten at home. As many as one in four regularly experiences psychological violence, according to a study by the University of Fribourg on behalf of Child Protection Switzerland.

The study on how parents in Switzerland punish their children was conducted for the third time in 2019. The results show a slight decrease in both physical and psychological violence compared with the 2017 survey, Child Protection Switzerland said on Tuesday.

However, despite the overall lower values, a stable subgroup of parents remains for whom physical violence is a part of raising their children.

Younger children are still more often on the receiving end of corporal punishment than older children; 4.4% of parents admitted to using physical force regularly (down from 5.79% in 2017). In addition 23.2% of parents reported regular behaviour towards their children that included aspects of psychological violence (down from 25.15%).

Deep marks

The study shows that force is used in every situation when it comes to raising children. Nevertheless, it says there are risk factors that could have a detrimental effect on children. For example, if the financial or emotional stability of the parents becomes unbalanced.

“Regular physical and psychological violence in a child’s upbringing leads to great suffering and leaves deep marks in the health and behaviour of affected children,” said Yvonne Frei, president of Child Protection Switzerland.

“We are therefore committed to ensuring that all children can grow up free of violence and that politicians declare a non-violent upbringing to be the norm.”