“…implementing the law is not only about responding to adults who violently punish children. It is also about transforming attitudes and practice so that physical punishment is no longer seen as acceptable in childrearing and education. It is about working towards a society where no assault on a child, however light, can conceivably be thought of as “reasonable”. https://endcorporalpunishment.org/prohibition-to-elimination/
NO HIT ZONES are a low-cost, low-effort strategy for bringing about this transformation.
NO HIT ZONES are spaces where notice is given that:
No adult shall hit another adult,
No adult shall hit a child,
No child shall hit an adult, and
No child shall hit another child.
As of 2021, 63 nations have full legal prohibition of corporal punishment of children and many nations are moving in that direction (See: https://endcorporalpunishment.org/countdown). Establishing NO HIT ZONES (NHZ) supports these legal changes, those working toward legal prohibition, and children in places where legal prohibition is a long way off.
By designating public / private spaces where hitting is unacceptable, NHZs seek to prevent harmful hitting behavior and change the social norms that support it. Through education and training NHZs not only aim to raise awareness of the negative impacts of hitting children, but they also work directly to prevent hitting behavior where it might happen.
NHZs help create a new normal where the adult’s right to hit a child does not apply, where hitting children is not an acceptable part of a caregiver’s role, where it is not right for caregivers to recreate what was done to them as children, and where there is no social support for hitting children.
NHZs can be anywhere, in hospitals, schools, churches, homes, parks, stores, community centers, childcare facilities, and government offices. Individuals can become NO HIT ZONE ADVOCATES, joining with others in committing to share information about NHZs and advocating for the establishment of NHZs in their communities.
NO HIT ZONE signs communicate these no hitting expectations. Staff members / parents / caregivers learn conflict de-escalation and positive intervention techniques. They practice and model the new norm of ‘not hitting’, thus creating safe spaces for all children and adults. A NHZ changes former ‘bystander’ cultures to places where staff armed with knowledge can intervene to prevent harm and educate all who interact with and care for children.
It is often mistakenly assumed that hitting children cannot be restricted because it is legal in many places. Yet, there are many legal behaviors such as smoking that are restricted in certain spaces for the health and safety of all. Similarly, through increasing awareness of the harms associated with hitting children, No Hit Zones (NHZs) are one tool to disseminate knowledge about the harms of hitting children, to reduce the use of corporal punishment, and to increase the use of alternative parenting strategies for the health and safety of all.
One advantage of NHZs is they are voluntary. To set one up you do not have to wait for government legislation or regulation! No Hit Zones are set up by those who control a space. Even if hitting children is not a problem in a space you control, becoming a NO HIT ZONE allows you to lend your voice this norm changing effort.
Some traditions support the disciplinary alternative of hitting a child, something that brings violence into the world of children. But the ‘hitting’ alternative is not mandatory! The ‘No Hit Zone’ option is a simple, inexpensive tool to teach non-violent alternatives, to support parents and children, and remove this form of violence from children’s lives.
Throughout the world, No Hit Zones can be a strategy for implementing legislation prohibiting the hitting of children. NHZs put into practice those articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and General Comments on Corporal Punishment that call for everyone to raise awareness, educate and train those who interact with children. NHZs also support UNICEF’s INSPIRE strategies for ending violence in the world of children. NHZs are places that support children’s physical integrity and dignity.
BECOMING A NO HIT ZONE IS SIMPLE. At a minimum, you designate a physical space where “No Hit Zone” signs are displayed. In large or small organizations, posting signs is supplemented with an organizational commitment policy statement, staff training, and making NO HIT ZONE educational materials available to clients and staff. No Hit Zone signs in the home can remind everyone (children and adults alike) that not hitting is truly a ‘rule of the family’.
While registered NHZs are primarily in the US (See Map: https://nohitzone.com/no-hit-zones/ ) a growing number of NO HIT ZONE ADVOCATES are connecting from around the world! (See Map: https://nohitzone.com/certified-advocates/ ).
To assist everyone with starting to implement NHZs, the U.S. National No Hit Zone Committee of the National Initiative to End Corporal Punishment (NIECP) has developed an NHZ toolkit with sample policy statements for organizations, signs, and training materials for staff or anyone implementing a NO HIT ZONE! (See: https://nohitzone.com ) This site is a place to ask questions and join with others by registering your NO HIT ZONE or signing up to be a NO HIT ZONE ADVOCATE.
Research related to NHZ implementation has found that NHZs are one of the most promising strategies for reducing violence in children’s lives. NHZs have changed attitudes towards hitting, increased non-hitting skills of parents and staff, increased knowledge and awareness of the negative impacts of hitting children and the benefits of positive non-hitting alternatives! Studies have also identified barriers to establishing NHZs and provide solutions to overcoming these barriers. (See: https://nohitzone.com/research ).
If you are interested in establishing a NO HIT ZONE, becoming a NO HIT ZONE ADVOCATE or getting answers to questions about NHZs, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org .