Should you be allowed to smack kids?

By Ellinor Fristrom

In Scottish and Wales legal systems changes have been made which will make it illegal for parents to smack their children but in England people still seem to think that parents know best.

According to section 58 of the Children Act 2004 it’s illegal for a parent or carer to smack their child except where this amounts to “reasonable punishment” But what is reasonable punishment? The Children Act 2004 says that it’s illegal to hit a child in a way that results in bruising, swelling, cuts, grazes or scratches but the age of the child is also taken into account.

In Scotland the law is changing after the government confirmed that it would pass a bill, which will remove the “reasonable punishment” defence. By doing so Scotland is going to become the first nation in the UK to ban corporal punishment of children and Wales now appears to be doing the same.

To see what people in Essex think about child smacking I went out in Colchester and asked them about their thoughts on the matter.
Ashley Beaufoy 22-years-old
“Personally I wouldn’t do that but I guess as long as it’s not just for the sake of hitting them, as long as you’re trying to teach them something”.

The majority said that they themselves thought it was wrong but think parents should be able to raise their children in the way that they want. Out of the seven people between the ages of 21-66 only one of them was completely against it and two thought it was okay.
Ally Walker 37-years-old
“I feel that parents should be allowed to discipline their children physically because sometimes that is the last resort and it is all that they will listen to (…) Everybody should be allowed to bring up their children the way they wish to and I don’t feel that it’s a government’s right or responsibility to dictate that to the populous”.

Of the 28 EU states the only ones that don’t prohibit child smacking according to the Global Initiative are Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Slovakia and the UK.

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