Never Hit a Child media campaign

The “Never Hit a Child” (in Finnish: Älä lyö lasta) media campaign was a small budget (240 000 euros) project aiming to change the attitudes of adult population against the use of disciplinary violence against children.

Planning started in 2005 and the campaign was carried out during 2006 and (the first half of) 2007. In 2005 a memorandum of the principles of the campaign was produced by the Central Union of Child Welfare. The memo was also intended as a framework and guidance for the advertisement agency and other possible partners. The campaign itself was planned in co-operation with the advertisement company Evia.

The campaign included two press conferences (28.9.2006 and 17.10.2006), TV-spots (1.-10.11.2006), print media advertisements (9.10.2006-31.3.2007), an internet site ( and a brochure of child upbringing to parents (over 22 000 free copies have been distributed to parents and to family counselling centres).

Before and after survey follow-ups have been done to follow the impact of the campaign. The surveys were ordered from two different commercial survey companies and were done using two different survey methods, a home interview and an internet questionnaire. Both samples were representative of the Finnish adult population. Both a qualitative (about media coverage) and a quantitative research report have been prepared by independent researchers.

The campaign fills the criteria of the contest.

  1. The Never Hit a Child project focuses on prevention and/or reduction of everyday crime and fear of crime within the specified theme, which is disciplinary violence in the campaign.
  2. The Never Hit a Child project has been evaluated and have achieved its objectives, a large discussion and critique of violence against children and a decline in the acceptance of violence.
  3. The Never Hit a Child project was innovative, involving new methods and new approaches. It focused on everyday violence without diverting the discussion to extreme and shocking violence, which often makes it possible to defend more moderate violence. A special innovation was to stop to speak of corporal punishment, a term that has an inbuilt quality of justifying violence as education or upbringing. Instead we coined a new term, disciplinary violence, that, at least in its Finnish form (kuritusväkivalta) is not an euphemism, but tells directly that we are dealing with violence. The meaning is something between punishment v. and disciplinary violence. The new term has been adopted quite well in the Finnish publicity.
  4. The Never Hit a Child project was based on co-operation between the Advertisement bureau and the CUCW. In the planning phase CUCW had contacts with the National council for crime prevention, which also financed the evaluation surveys and reports.
  5. The Never Hit a Child project schema can as such easily be replicated by organisations and groups in other Member States. Such a replication would also help the Council of Europe campaign to ban corporal punishment of children in all European countries.


More information about the project can be found here (in Finnish).


The project started in 2006 and is now finished.
Last review: October 2017.


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