In 1983 Finland became the second country in the world, after Sweden, to adopt a law prohibiting all kinds of physical punishment towards children, also by parents. The present investigation was carried out in 2011, 28 years after the law was adopted. Changes in exposure to various types of physical punishment towards respondents born between 1931 and 1996 are presented. A representative sample from Western Finland, consisting of 4,609 respondents (2,632 females, 1,977 males) between 15 and 80 years, filled in a paper‐and‐pencil questionnaire. A number of psychosocial concomitants were measured. The results showed a significant drop in reports of being slapped and beaten with an object among respondents who were born after the law was adopted. The decline in physical punishment was associated with a similar decline in the number of murdered children. Respondents who had been exposed to higher amounts of physical punishment than average scored significantly higher on alcohol abuse, depression, mental health problems, and schizotypal personality. Divorced respondents had been significantly more physically punished than others. Respondents who had attempted suicide during the last 12 months had been exposed to physical punishment during childhood significantly more often than those who had not attempted suicide.