Switzerland, full name the Swiss Confederation, is a country in Western Europe. Its capital is Bern and its largest city is Zürich. Its population is about eight million, most of whom live in the cities on the Swiss Plateau (covering 30% of Switzerland's land area). Its official languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but has been a member of the United Nations since 2002. It is governed by a federal republic, with a Federal Council of seven members serving collectively as the heads of state and heads of government.
Switzerland has a long history of armed neutrality (not taking any sides in a war, but will defend itself from any invasion) and has not been involved in any war since 1815. However, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world, apart from hosting many international organizations. It is also one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product, and two of its cities, Zurich and Geneva, are ranked among the cities with the highest quality of life in the world.
Spanking in Switzerland
Corporal punishment has a long tradition in Switzerland, and the spanking of children for punishment was once common both in the home and in school. The Swiss have a reputation of being hard-working and well-educated, but also conservative and traditional people. For example, women were not allowed to vote until 1959 (and in the last canton, until 1990). The age of majority in Switzerland was 20 until it was reduced to 18 in 1996. A 1992 study of Freiburg University showed that about two thirds of Swiss parents use smacking as a parenting tool. Most corporal punishment was given to small children below the age of four.
Common spanking implements in Switzerland, according to books and films, seem to have been switches and sticks which were cut from suitable bushes and trees. Up to the 19th century, the birch rod was common as well. According to the Atlas der Schweizerischen Schulkunde of 1950, in various regions of Switzerland the donkey cap was still in use: the student to be punished had to wear the donkey cap usually while standing in corner time.
Switzerland banned judicial corporal punishment as early as 1798.
Like several other European countries, Switzerland has recently banned spanking as a parenting method. However Switzerland' s highest court has ruled in 2003 that parents have a limited right to smack their children occasionally 'following inappropriate behaviour and with the aim of educating the child.'