Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth
What is the Joint Statement?
The Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth was developed by a national coalition of organizations facilitated by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Based on an extensive review of research, the Joint Statement provides an overview of the developmental outcomes associated with the use of physical punishment. The evidence is clear and compelling — physical punishment of children and youth plays no useful role in their upbringing and poses only risks to their development. The conclusion is equally compelling — parents should be strongly encouraged to develop alternative and positive approaches to discipline.
The pre-publication electronic edition of the Joint Statement was endorsed by 138 Canadian organizations concerned with the well-being of children and youth and, by invitation, a number of distinguished Canadians. These endorsers were acknowledged in the first printed edition of the Joint Statement launched at CHEO on September 29, 2004. At this update of the webpage, 651 organizations and several more distinguished Canadians are acknowledged for their endorsements. They are listed in the PDF below.
Every endorsement of the Joint Statement carries information to more Canadians about the adverse lifespan consequences for children and the societal harm associated with physical punishment. Endorsements continue to be received and are most welcome.
The Joint Statement is now in its fourth printing. Research published since 2004, when the first edition of the Joint Statement was published, consistently reinforces and extends the findings of the research summarized up to that time. The findings of ongoing research are summarized in the annual Physical Punishment Updates and the publications by Durrant and Ensom below.
The Joint Statement Receives National and International Recognition
Some Distinguished Canadians who have Endorsed the Joint Statement
- Marvin Bernstein
First independent Child and Youth Advocate for Prince Edward Island; former Chief Policy Advisor, UNICEF Canada; former independent Children's Advocate for Saskatchewan; co-founder of the Canadian Bar Association's National Children's Law Committee; recipient of the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal; the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; the Child Welfare League of Canada Advocacy Award; and the North America Council on Adoptable Children Adoption Activist Award
- Martha Friendly
principal investigator, 1998, 2003, 2008 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS); Scientific Director, Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare; Philip Fisher Chair in Social Work, School of Social Work, McGill University
Click the name for a brief bio.
In 2006, the Joint Statement initiative received the Ted Freedman Innovation in Education Award. This prestigious international award recognizes individuals and organizations that inspire, advocate and enable education in health care. In 2012, Joan Durrant and Ron Ensom, co-authors of the Joint Statement, were honoured for their work on the issue of physical punishment of children with the Health Promotion & Innovation Award of Excellence (presented by the Canadian Institute of Child Health) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (nominated by UNICEF Canada).
How to Access the Joint Statement and its Supporting Documents
You may view and download the documents in the list below. You are welcome to circulate the documents as they are written (in hard copy or electronically), to link with this CHEO webpage, or to quote the Joint Statement with appropriate acknowledgment. Commercial distribution of the documents on this webpage is not permitted. Inquiries and endorsements may be directed as follows: by email to the Joint Statement; or by regular mail to CHEO, Partnerships and Advocacy, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8L1.
- Joint Statement: The full first edition of the document. (664 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Executive Summary: (updated March 5, 2013) A synopsis of the Joint Statement. (135 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Poster: (updated September 1, 2020) Summary of the key findings, conclusion, key recommendations, endorsements and impact of the Joint Statement. (1.6 MB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
Some Organizations that have Endorsed the Joint Statement
- Pediatricians of the Health Care Corporation of St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador
- Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital; Ontario
651 endorsements to date
- Names of Endorsers: (updated March 1, 2021) The names of organizations and distinguished Canadians that have endorsed the Joint Statement to date. (550 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Note to Potential Endorsers: (updated June 19, 2018) Describes the background of the initiative and the endorsement process. (145 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Confirmation of Endorsement Form: (updated June 19, 2018) Can be completed, or a brief letter written, and forwarded to us to convey your organization's endorsement of the Joint Statement. (239 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Backgrounders: (updated May 1, 2020) Brief discussion papers on the implications of research findings on physical punishment of children for the education, sports/recreation, mental health, and business communities. (749 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Fact Sheet: (updated February 8, 2021) Key facts about physical punishment of children. (203 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Physical Punishment Updates: (updated July, 2017) Periodic updates on Canadian and international developments regarding physical punishment of children. (1.4 MB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Physical Punishment and Children's Health: An article written by Joan Durrant and Ron Ensom by invitation of IMPrint, published by Infant Mental Health Promotion (IMP). (112 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Physical Punishment of Children: Lessons from 20 Years of Research: Durrant J, Ensom R: Physical punishment of children: lessons from 20 years of research. CMAJ 2012; 184:1373-77 posted with permission of the Publisher, CMAJ. © 2012 Canadian Medical Association. (110 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Too Much Harm, Too Little Action: (updated February 4, 2021), J. Durrant, R. Ensom, P. Dudding, D. Stuart, op-ed on physical punishment of children, January 4, 2021, The Hill Times, Canada’s Parliamentary newspaper. (545 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Twenty-Five Years of Physical Punishment Research: What Have We Learned?: Durrant J, Ensom R: Twenty-Five Years of Physical Punishment Research: What Have We Learned? J Korean Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2017; 28(1):20-24 posted with permission of the Publisher, JKACAP. © Korean Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (999 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Physical Punishment of Children in Sport and Recreation and Physical Punishment of Children in Sport and Recreation: The Times They Are A-Changin': Two articles written by Ron Ensom and Joan Durrant by invitation of Coaches PLAN du coach, published by Coaches of Canada. (284 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file; 1 MB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- An Eriksonian Perspective on Physical Punishment and Its Impacts on Mental Health: Durrant J, Ensom R: An Eriksonian Perspective on Physical Punishment and Its Impacts on Mental Health. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 2020; 73(1):30–45 posted with permission of the Publisher, Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. (1.1 MB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
- Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting: (updated 2016) A guide written by Dr. Joan Durrant that describes how parents can effectively discipline their children while respecting their human rights. The guide may be viewed and downloaded for free from this PDF (5.5 MB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file). Hard copies can be ordered from FRP Canada using this order form.
- Two studies by Dr. Joan Durrant et al. that explore the impact of Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting on parents’ attitudes toward physical punishment are available here:
Preventing Punitive Violence: Preliminary Data on the Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP) Program. (944 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
Parents’ Views of the Relevance of a Violence Prevention Program in High, Medium, and Low Human Development Contexts. (214 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)