15th September 1995 at 01:00
AUSTRALIA: Although almost every state and territory in Australia has banned corporal punishment in its government schools, Australian parents overwhelmingly believe it is appropriate to strike a child if he or she warrants it.

In the first study of its type in Australia, a survey found that 80 per cent of parents think it is not harmful to hit a child with the hand - and one in five believes it is all right to use a ruler, leather strap, or wooden spoon.

Half of those surveyed said it is every parent's right to discipline children in any way they see fit.

The study, commissioned by the National Child Protection Council, found that, despite their own attitudes to punishment, most of the 1,200 parents interviewed believed child abuse to be widespread.

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