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UK government rejects calls to ban smacking in England

Charisa Bossinakis

| Last updated 

UK government rejects calls to ban smacking in England

The UK government has rejected calls to ban smacking in England.

Many have taken issue with the decision not to specify the form of child abuse as an illegal act in the country.

Currently, physical punishment against children is banned in Wales, Scotland and Jersey.

The NSPCC and Barnardo’s children charities have said England must follow in their footsteps, as per BBC News.

Credit: Chris Rout / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Chris Rout / Alamy Stock Photo

According to the outlet, while the government confirmed it wouldn’t change its stance, a Department for Education spokesperson said they ‘do not condone any violence towards children and has clear laws in place to prevent it’.

But many advocates are now speaking out against the government's decision.

NSPCC chief executive Sir Peter Wanless said: "It cannot be right that in this country it is illegal to hit an adult, but equal protection is not given to a child.


"We need put the wellbeing of children first and bring an end to this legal anomaly."

According to a YouGov poll of almost 3,000 people over 18s, two-thirds (68 per cent) said they are against physically punishing children.

When Wales reformed the Children Act 2004 in March last year, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of residents in England said it's time for the country to change the law and give the same protection against assault as adults.

Credit: Roger Bamber / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Roger Bamber / Alamy Stock Photo

Last year, the Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza, said she supported the government following in Scotland and Wales’ footsteps in making corporal punishment illegal.

On the contrary, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said parents should be 'entitled' to discipline their children how they see fit.

“My very strong view is that actually we have got to trust parents on this, and parents being able to discipline their children is something that they should be entitled to do,” she told Times Radio.

“We have got to just make sure we don’t end up in a world where the state is nannying people about how they bring up their children.”


However, this could very well backfire, as research has shown that physical punishment often worsens a child's behaviour.

Researchers who published a paper in The Lancet observed over 69 studies and concluded that physical punishment was not associated with any positive outcomes for children and increased the risk that children would experience severe violence or neglect.

“There is no evidence that physical punishment is good for children," said Elizabeth Gershoff, senior author of the paper.

“All the evidence indicates that physical punishment is harmful to children's development and well-being.”

Featured Image Credit: Ian Allenden / Alamy Stock Photo. Artit Oubkaew / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Politics, UK News, Parenting

Charisa Bossinakis
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