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Advocacy

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, 575 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. A second printed edition will fully update research and Canadian and international developments regarding physical punishment. Brief summaries of key research findings since 2004 have been posted annually in the Physical Punishment Updates PDF below.



The Joint Statement Receives National and International Recognition

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 from the PDFs below: the Joint Statement; its executive summary; endorsers' names; a note to potential endorsers; confirmation of endorsement form; memos to endorsers about physical punishment; a poster; backgrounders for the education, sports/recreation, mental health, and business communities; articles on physical punishment and children's health, physical punishment in sport and recreation, and an analysis of research; and a guide on positive discipline. 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: email jointstatement@cheo.on.ca; fax 613-738-4866; or postal address 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)
The Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth
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Some Recent and Earlier Endorsers of the Joint Statement

  • Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC)
  • Children’s Resources on Wheels, Ontario Early Years Centre; Smiths Falls, Ontario
  • Office of the Ombudsman/Child and Youth Advocate; New Brunswick
575 endorsements to date


  • Names of Endorsers: (updated August 1, 2016) The names of organizations and distinguished Canadians that have endorsed the Joint Statement to date. (225 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
  • Note to Potential Endorsers: (updated March 29, 2014) Describes the background of the initiative and the endorsement process. (51 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
  • Confirmation of Endorsement Form: (updated March 5, 2013) Can be completed, or a brief letter written, and forwarded to us to convey your organization's endorsement of the Joint Statement. (150 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
  • Physical Punishment Updates: (updated March, 2016) Periodic updates sent to endorsers on Canadian and international developments regarding physical punishment of children. (1.2 MB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
  • Poster: (updated February 1, 2016) Summary of the key findings, conclusion, key recommendations, endorsements and impact of the Joint Statement. (1.6 MB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file)
  • Backgrounders: (updated May 14, 2014) Brief discussion papers on the implications of research findings on physical punishment of children for the education, sports/recreation, mental health, and business communities. (451 KB 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)
  • 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)
  • Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting: (updated August 20, 2013) 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 (7.5 MB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file). Hard copies can be ordered from FRP Canada using this order form.
  • Preventing Punitive Violence: Preliminary Data on the Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP) Program: (published on-line November, 2014) A study by Dr. Joan Durrant et al. that explores the impact of Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting on parents’ attitudes toward physical punishment. (944 KB Adobe Acrobat® PDF file).
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