Year published: 2018

Author: S Röhrs, S Mathews and P Mahlangu

Publisher: Children's Institute, UCT

Suggested Citation: Röhrs S, Mathews S & Mahlangu P (2018) Reducing Physical Punishment of Children: Using Schools as Nodes of Intervention (Policy Brief). Cape Town and Pretoria: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town and Gender & Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council.


Physical punishment is one of the most widespread forms of violence against children in South Africa. Research shows that physical punishment can have detrimental short- and long-term effects on children’s health and psychosocial development. Interventions, policies and programmes targeting physical punishment are therefore urgently needed. This policy brief discusses the prevalence of physical punishment in South Africa, its effects on children and the links between physical punishment and intimate partner violence. The policy brief then presents findings from two school-based interventions that reduced physical punishment: Skhokho Supporting Success and the Good Schools Toolkit. The policy brief concludes with a set of recommendations for future research and interventions.