The NSPCC's ultimate objective is to protect children from harm and provide parents with alternatives to physical punishment.
The primary aim was to open a new public debate on the issue of hitting children. The long-term goal was to change parental behaviour and public attitudes regarding the use of physical force. The short-term objective was to promote the message that hitting, shaking or smacking children is both immoral and ineffective. The NSPCC also sought to show a reasoned debate on this difficult subject was possible, and to support its political lobbying which was directed at encouraging new legislation.
The annual NSPCC Children's Day on 8 May 2002 was the focus for the campaign, providing an ideal opportunity to grab the attention of parents and the wider public, and to bring the concept of child protection right into the family home.
The campaign built on the launch of the second stage of FULL STOP, and the Protecting Babies initiative, which showed the dangers of hitting and shaking babies. It included internal comms, a regional PR programme, research and stunts with The RED Consultancy, involving stilt-walkers to demonstrate to adults how small and weak children feel when physically threatened. A VNR was produced by APTV showing footage of parents in other countries where smacking has been outlawed. The initial exclusive placed in The Observer was followed by widespread media attention, and 50,000 advice booklets distributed to parents.
Before the campaign, quantitative NOP research showed that 57 per cent of parents think smacking is wrong and that 55 per cent have smacked (of whom 44 per cent thought it was wrong). A second poll revealed that 35 per cent of parents say they will change their behaviour, 79 per cent are aware of the physical and emotional effects of smacking, and 20 per cent were considering calling the NSPCC for advice.
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