While some Brits will have been smacked by their parents as a kid - and think it's OK - many see it as an unnecessary and harmful punishment.
Here we tell you everything you need to know about smacking kids, and whether or not it's allowed by law...Would you ever smack your children? The practice is still legal - unless unreasonable force is used.
What is the law on smacking your children, and is it illegal?It is illegal for a parent or carer to smack their own child, except where it amounts to "reasonable punishment", according to section 58 of the Children Act 2004.The problem is, some people don't know what "reasonable punishment" means - with the age of the child and the force of the smack also being taken into account.Hitting a child in a way which causes wounding, actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm or child cruelty are all illegal.And the smacking of kids by teachers, nursery workers and child care workers - which was once allowed - is now banned.
The Child Law Advice states:
It is against the law for a parent or carer to smack their child, except where this amounts to "reasonable punishment".
This defence is laid down in section 58 of the Children Act 2004, but it is not defined in this legislation.Whether a ‘smack’ amounts to reasonable punishment will depend on the circumstances of each case, taking into consideration factors like the age of the child and the nature of the smack.There are strict guidelines covering the use of reasonable punishment and it will not be possible to rely on the defence if you use severe physical punishment on your child which amounts to wounding, actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm or child cruelty.
However, if somebody is employed privately by the child's parents - for example as a babysitter or nanny - they may be given permission to smack.Because of the confusion surrounding what is or isn't an offence, the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales has produced a charging standard.For even more serious injuries - resulting in cuts, multiple bruising, fractures, broken bones, broken teeth or loss of conscious - a parent could be charged under Actual Bodily Harm.However, the law in Scotland is changing now - meaning the "reasonable punishment" defence will no longer apply north of the border.
It's a controversial subject - and Peter Andre has now changed his views on smacking When will Scotland ban smacking children?Scotland is going to become the first UK nation to ban all physical punishment of children, the Scottish government has confirmed.They will remove the "reasonable punishment" defence currently in place throughout the UK so that there will be no legal justification for ever smacking your child.The new bill was proposed by Green MSP John Finnie, and the Scottish government has now confirmed that the proposals will be made into law.A vote will be held in the Scottish parliament at some point next year, when the bill is expected to pass and become law.
What is the law in Wales about smacking children?
Welsh Minister for Children Huw Irranca-Davies says that there is no place for physical punishment of children in a modern and progressive Wales.He wants new legislation to close the 'loophole' that English parents use to smack their kids, which is in defence of reasonable punishment.He thinks that there is never any reasonable reason for physical punishment. Wales Online quote him as saying: "The Welsh Government is rightly proud of its record of promoting children’s rights and working to ensure all children in Wales have the best start in life.“As Minister for Children, I’ll work to ensure the rights of every child and young person in Wales are respected so they can grow up to lead happy, healthy lives and to be responsible, active citizens.“When the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011 was passed, it broke new ground. We were brave enough to be the first in the UK, and amongst only a few in Europe and the World, to put such arrangements in place. I’m determined to continue to deliver on this commitment.“Our understanding of what is needed to protect and support children and their families has changed considerably over the years, and societal norms have changed as a result."It can no longer be acceptable in a modern and progressive society for children to be physically punished. It is right that as a Government, we take action to protect children and support parents to use positive and effective alternatives to physical punishment.”Currently, plans to outlaw smacking children in Wales are going out to a three-month public consultation. The consultation runs until April 2.
Injuries which could be counted as common assault:
• Minor bruising
• Reddening of the skin
• Superficial cuts
• A 'black' eye
What are the arguments for and against smacking?
Generally, arguments for light smacks are made on the basis that mum knows best, it's a deterrent for more serious disobedience and biting, and that it never did the parent any harm.Those against smacking think it's an out-dated practice, which is now banned in many other countries.It's a notoriously controversial subject. Peter Andre, who in the past has said he 'didn’t see anything wrong with a smack', is now supporting an anti-smacking campaign.
Dad-of-four Peter said: “I was shocked to learn we’re only one of four countries in Europe where smacking out children is still legal! “Listen when I was growing up my brothers and I were smacked – and it did us no harm.
“But back then, I think a lot of parents smacked out of frustration and there weren’t really many other methods of discipline out there.“But it wasn’t considered bad as at the time they didn’t know any different.“Times have changed now, and I’ve never needed to smack my children to discipline them.“I really think it should be banned because I don’t believe it’s necessary in order to discipline kids.”
Child charity NSPCC are against smacking, and claim the habit:
Has anyone been charged recently?
In October 2017 a dad who allegedly smacked his five-year-old son on the bottom for breaking a plant pot was charged with assault.The 25-year-old man claimed he had smacked the child as a reasonable chastisement - but has now appeared in court on charges of assault causing actual bodily harm.Prosecutor Christine Hart said that bruising had appeared on the young boy after the alleged assault on May 23.But defence lawyer Greg Peters said his client did not accept the bruising had been caused by the smack at the man's home in Chard, Somerset.Somerset Magistrates' Court in Yeovil was told the father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted to hitting the child, but said it was not enough to have caused an injury.The dad did not enter any pleas.
Read the full article here.
Enjoyed this read? Check out 5 Ways to be a Positive Parent
Many people will have been gripped by recent developments in one of Britain's best loved soaps.The r…Read More »
To download more activities from The Baby Website sign up to our premium membership.Sign Up