Survey: Russian attitudes to physical punishment of children

Survey reveals that 67% of Russians believe that physical punishment of children is unacceptable




Article published on the ASI website


The Public Opinion Foundation has carried out a survey involving 1,500 Russians over 18 years of age in 104 towns and villages across 53 provinces.


The research showed that 67% considered the physical beating of children to be unacceptable, compared to 27% who believed it was justified in certain instances. Six per cent found the question difficult to answer.


Of those who thought punishment was warranted in certain circumstances, eight per cent thought it appropriate for acts of disobedience, bad behaviour and hooliganism. Displaying a disrespectful and rude attitude towards their elders, theft and damage to property, lying and cheating were mentioned by four per cent of respondents. Three per cent said that its use would be permissible if a child was caught smoking.


Another two per cent favoured punishment for violence committed against other children, drug and alcohol use, truancy, poor academic performance, delinquency and serious misdemeanours. One per cent each were in favour of punishment for miscellaneous offences and cruelty to animals. Four per cent found the question difficult to answer.


On the types of punishment that could be administered, respondents cited:


  • Beating with a belt, or use of the birch – 11%;
  • Spanking – 6%;
  • Making a child stand in the corner – 4%;
  • Slapping or smacking a child – 3%;
  • Tugging a child’s ear – 1%;
  • Other 1%;
  • Found the question difficult to answer– 5%.


Of the total number of survey participants, 85% stated that physical punishment should not be used in schools, compared to 11% who thought “it wouldn’t be a bad thing”.


In addition, 53% of Russians believe that parents who physically punish school-age children these days are in the minority, with 17% saying they are in the majority. Eight per cent were 50-50 while three per cent thought there was no such category of parent.


82% of respondents stated that physical violence during arguments between spouses can never be justified, although 12% said it was acceptable on certain occasions, including:


  • Being provoked due to unacceptable behaviour on behalf of one of the partners – 2%;
  • Betrayal and infidelity – 2%;
  • Reaction to drunken behaviour on behalf of one of the spouses – 1%;
  • For reasons of self-defence and protection of a child – 1%;
  • In other situations – 1%;
  • Other – 1%;
  • Found the question difficult to answer – 5%.


In addition, 39% of respondents believe that the Russian media is covering the issue of domestic violence involving couples objectively, with 20% saying the problem is downplayed and 13% that it is exaggerated.


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