Dr. Adam J. Zolotor, assistant professor of family medicine in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the laws and changes in attitudes and behaviors in countries that have adopted bans on corporal punishment since the passage of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1979.
The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1979, which covers everything from a child's right to be free from sexual and economic exploitation, to the right to education, healthcare and economic opportunity.
Currently, 193 nations have signed to enforce the treaty, but not the United States and Somalia, Zolotor said. Thirty U.S. states have banned corporal punishment in schools, while 20 -- all in the South and West -- have not.
Of the 24 countries with corporal punishment bans at school and at home, 19 are in Europe. Three are in Central or South America, one in the Middle East and one in Oceania.
The findings are published in the July/August issue of the journal Child Abuse Review.
UPDATE: According to endcorporalpunishment.org, 32 countries have prohibited corporal punishment by law, as of 2011. A complete list of participating states in the ban can be found here.