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One in five adolescents exposed to serious violence at home

One in five adolescents in Switzerland experiences serious violence at home. This has been shown in a study by the ZHAW Institute of Delinquency and Crime Prevention.

In a study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (in German), the ZHAW is investigating the factors involved in the development of politically extreme positions among adolescents in Switzerland. For this purpose, an extensive survey is being carried out among 10,000 students in a number of Swiss cantons in all three language regions. Half of the interviews have been completed and analysed. The interim results already enable conclusions to be drawn in various areas. Among other things, they document the widespread occurrence of violence in parental upbringing in Switzerland. One in five adolescents in Switzerland is beaten or kicked by his/her parents.

Greater awareness needed

In 1978, a law was passed in Switzerland denying parents the right to physically punish their children as part of their upbringing. However, there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment. In light of the study results, there seems to be a need for a political discussion and greater awareness among the population. As a point of comparison, in Germany such a prohibition has been in place since 2000. Physical punishment as an upbringing method is particularly widespread among parents from Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia. Another important factor influencing violence in upbringing is the parents’ financial situation. Study leader Dirk Baier believes that poverty as a stress factor leads to a higher propensity for violence.

Study on the development of political extremism

The study on the development of political extremism among adolescents in Switzerland is led by Dirk Baier, Patrik Manzoni (both at ZHAW School of Social Work) and Sandrine Haymoz (Haute École de Travail Social Fribourg).

SRF “10 vor 10” news report aired on 6 October 2017

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