Friday, 26 October 2007


Government u-turn as ministers tell parents they CAN smack their children

UK Report
25th October 2007

Smacking ok:

The government will not ban parents smacking their children

Ministers ruled out a complete ban on smacking today after a Government review found the majority of parents opposed such a move.

Children's Minister Kevin Brennan said the law would stay as it is after officials reviewed the way new rules were working.

Despite calls from many organisations for a ban, Mr Brennan said the evidence was that fewer parents now use smacking to discipline their children.

In a statement to MPs, he said: "Whilst many parents say they will not smack, a majority of parents say that smacking should not be banned outright.

"The Government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence it is not working satisfactorily."

Mr Brennan's announcement came after the Government conducted a review of the law, which changed in the 2004 Children's Act.

Section 58 of the Act removed the the defence of reasonable punishment from parents and adults acting "in loco parentis" who are charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, wounding or grievous bodily harm, or cruelty to a child.

At the time, ministers promised to review the law to assess whether it was working.

Officials surveyed parents, children and examined other evidence for the review, which took place this summer.....

But he continued: "Many organisations however support legislation to ban smacking.

"The police have discretion to deal with cases as they consider appropriate, taking into account factors including the evidence available, the public interest and the best interests of the child.

"The law is clear and section 58 has improved protection for children.

"But there appears to be a lack of awareness across different audiences about the scope and application of the law.

"In response, the Government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence it is not working satisfactorily.

"We will also do more to help with positive parenting."

Shadow children's minister Tim Loughton said: "This is a clear victory for common-sense.

"Clearly, if any adult is responsible for abuse and violence towards a child they need to face the full rigour of the law.

"But there is a world of difference between that and criminalising loving parents that use chastisement as they see fit in the interest of their child........

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