HAS CORPORAL PUNISHMENT FOR CHILDREN BECOME OUTDATED
You may not have noticed but it appears the western World is moving gradually towards totally outlawing the smacking,beating or flogging (whatever you might call it) of Children by their Parents or School teachers.
The Trend means that smacking is now likely to be banned in both Wales, USA and Scotland by the end of the year, leaving the English law which permits slapping basically on its own.
A three-month consultation was launched in Wales on a law which would remove the longstanding legal defence for parents which says they can use ‘reasonable’ force to punish their children.
The Scottish Government has thrown its weight behind a similar move in Scotland.
But in England Mrs May’s ministers continue to hold out against a chorus of complaints over the legal right to smack from pressure groups, charities and Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield, who two years ago joined a protest to the UN calling for a ban to using Cane to correct childrern.
Parents in England still have the right to administer ‘reasonable punishment’ to their children under Victorian laws last updated by Tony Blair’s government in 2004. The current law says parents can use corporal punishment and cannot be convicted of common assault as long as they do no physical or mental harm – usually taken to mean they must not cause bruising or any other injury.
Advocates of the right to smack accuse campaigners who are looking for a ban of making false comparisons between parental discipline and child abuse. They also warn that any law against smacking would be an intrusion into family life that could be used to criminalise ordinary loving parents
There are signs that the rights of parents in England are already under pressure in civil Family Courts. In one case late last year two parents described as ‘loving and caring’ by a judge lost their children to adoption after a plank of the case against their right to keep their children was that they used smacking to punish them.
Welsh minister for children Huw Irranca-Davies said: ‘We want parents in Wales to be confident in managing their children’s behaviour without feeling they must resort to physical punishment.
‘If there is any potential risk of harm to a child then it is our obligation as a government to take action. Legislation was introduced many years ago to stop physical punishment in schools and childcare settings – now is the time to ensure it is no longer acceptable anywhere.’
Mr Irranca-Davies said he was aware there were differing views on the legislation and that the consultation would provide everyone an opportunity to have their say.
He added: ‘As a parent of three boys myself, I know being a parent can sometimes be a challenging experience. Children do not come with an instruction manual and sometimes parents need guidance and support to help them raise healthy and happy children.’
But, he said, physical punishment could have ‘negative long-term impacts on a child’s life chances’ and was in any case ineffective.
Opponents of a ban in England urged Mrs May to resist pressure to follow the Scottish and Welsh direction.
Author on the family Jill Kirby, a former head of the Tory-leaning Centre for Policy Studies think tank, said: ‘The Government should resist this attempt to intrude further into family life.
‘Critics of smacking talk about parents hitting children, but that misrepresents what parents do, and wrongly confuses the difference between discipline and child abuse. There is a danger that good and well-meaning parents who, for example, smack a child on the leg in public to stop it doing something dangerous, will be dragged into the criminal courts. The focus of the courts should be on real abuse.’
The Department for Education in Whitehall has said there are no plans to outlaw smacking in England, and officials have maintained that it is wrong to turn good parents into criminals. They have also said that it is highly unlikely that the courts would ever allow a child abuser to get away by claiming reasonable punishment.
However it was Tory ministers in Westminster who opened the door to a smacking ban in Wales last year by transferring powers to legislate on parental discipline to the Welsh Assembly.
Smacking has remained legal in Scotland and England following a 2003 law which banned punishment by hitting children on the head, shaking or hitting with a belt or cane
Yougetmouth says: well Oyinbo na dem get their own mouth. Pankere and Koboko have been resetting the brains of Nigerian children to default setting since 1892. And not as many kids will carry gun and start shooting people in a shopping mall or cinema here. The child must be spanked ..No be bible talk say foolishness lies in the heart of a child but the rod corrects it? Pankere no the cause mental disorder Parents who spoil and over pamper Kids are the biggest problems