Saturday, June 16, 2007

Will ministers back a total ban on smacking?


http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23400759-details/Will+ministers+back+a+total+ban+on+smacking/article.do

Ministers have revived the prospect of an outright ban on smacking children.

Under the current law – introduced only two years ago – parents can administer mild smacks as long as they do not cause bruises or grazes.

They face assault charges and up to five years in jail if they strike their children hard enough to leave a mark.

Children's Minister Beverley Hughes yesterday announced a wide-ranging review to see if the existing legislation is succeeding in protecting children.

However, she insisted there were no current plans to change the legislation' which had allowed light smacking because Labour didn't want to see decent parents criminalised'.

Anti-smacking campaigners seized on the announcement last night to renew their calls for an outright ban.

The UK's four child commissioners last month demanded a total ban on any form of smacking, insisting there was was no room for compromise' on the issue.

But polls of parents have shown that two-thirds support smacking as a punishment if necessary.

And critics regard an outright ban as an unwarranted intrusion into family life.

The Tory spokesman on children-Tim Loughton, said: Even though this issue was debated barely three ago, Labour ministers cannot resist meddling in how parents look after their children.

Bringing up children is a big enough challenge already without opening up this can of worms, which is all about the nanny state rather than trusting parents.'

But Rob Williams, chief executive of campaign body 11 MILLION, said: Children and young people in England should have the same right to protection under the law on common assault as that afforded to adults – there is no good reason why children are the only people in the UK who can still be hit.'


A review of Section 58, the law that deals with smacking, is to be published the Autumn


http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2663207.ece

Ministers to review ban on smacking

By David Langton

Published: 16 June 2007

A complete ban on smacking may be introduced after the Government announced a review of the law less than three years after MPs rejected an outright ban.

The proposed changes have been backed by Al Aynsley Green, the children's commissioner for England and Wales.

The Children's minister Beverley Hughes said parents and professionals would be consulted this summer over how the present rules were working. Last month Britain's four child commissioners called for a total ban, insisting there was was "no room for compromise" on the issue.

But the most recent poll found parents believed smacking was an acceptable way to discipline children. More than two thirds of parents surveyed said they did use it as a punishment and between 80 and 90 per cent of parents and adults without families were against a complete ban.

Restrictions were toughened in 2004 to prevent anyone claiming they had administered a "reasonable punishment" if it left visible bruising.

In a written statement, Ms Hughes said the review of Section 58 of the Children Act 2004 ­ which contains the controversial "reasonable punishment" test, would begin immediately.

A report will be published in the autumn.

Rob Williams, chief executive of the campaign body 11 Million ­ headed by Mr Aynsley-Green ­ said: "Children and young people in England should have the same right to protection under the law on common assault as that afforded to adults. There is no good reason why children are the only people in the UK who can still be hit."

Mr Williams added: "11 Million calls on the Government to repeal the law which provides parents with an automatic defence to acts of common assault against their children.

"Children are rightly protected from assault in school and other settings. It is time for the law to protect them from violence at home."


http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2663207.ece

Smacking law review is announced

Jun 15 2007



The row over smacking children was reopened on Friday as the Government announced a review of the law less than three years since MPs rejected an outright ban.

Children's minister Beverley Hughes said parents and professionals would be consulted this summer over how present rules were working.

Restrictions were toughened in 2004 to prevent anyone claiming they had administered a "reasonable punishment" if it left visible bruising.

But moves to outlaw any "hitting" of youngsters were rejected.

Last month Britain's four child commissioners called for a total ban, insisting there was was "no room for compromise" on the issue.




Smacking law review is announced

Jun 15 2007



The row over smacking children was reopened on Friday as the Government announced a review of the law less than three years since MPs rejected an outright ban.

Children's minister Beverley Hughes said parents and professionals would be consulted this summer over how present rules were working.

Restrictions were toughened in 2004 to prevent anyone claiming they had administered a "reasonable punishment" if it left visible bruising.

But moves to outlaw any "hitting" of youngsters were rejected.

Last month Britain's four child commissioners called for a total ban, insisting there was was "no room for compromise" on the issue.


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But the most recent poll found parents believed smacking was an acceptable way to discipline children.

More than two thirds of parents surveyed said they did use it as a punishment and between 80% and 90% of both parents and adults without families were against a complete ban.

In a written statement, Ms Hughes said the review of Section 58 of the Children Act 2004 - which contains the controversial "reasonable punishment" test, would begin immediately.

The process, promised by her predecessor Margaret Hodge during the passage of the Bill, would involve a "parental income survey" this summer as well as consultation with professionals working with young people, she said.

A report would be published in the autumn but there were "no current plans to change the legislation", she added.


http://icberkshire.icnetwork.co.uk/chronicle/uk/tm_headline=smacking-law-review-is-announced&method=full&objectid=19302546&siteid=106484-name_page.html


  • Rowan Pelling: I'm a great believer in benign neglect
  • Parents could be banned from smacking their children after the Government announced a full review of the law yesterday.

    Child's legs being smacked (posed by models). Parents face total ban on smacking
    Under current legislation, mild smacking is allowed

    Family campaigners immediately denounced the move as "unnecessary state interference" and warned that it could criminalise responsible parents.

    Beverley Hughes, the children's minister, said that the Government would be seeking the views of parents and professionals this summer about changes that were made to the law three years ago.

    The Government ruled out a total ban on smacking in 2001, saying that the law, which allowed "reasonable chastisement", sufficiently protected children in England and Wales.

    Under tougher laws introduced in 2004, mild smacking is still allowed but parents who hit children hard enough to leave a mark can face up to five years in prison.



    "The law is clear - violence against a child is illegal," said Miss Hughes. "Parliament did not go as far as to ban all smacking because it didn't want to see decent parents criminalised."

    She added: "We have no reason to believe that the law needs to be changed; however, in 2004 we made a proper commitment to examine the practical consequences of the changes to the legislation."

    Child protection charities welcomed the announcement, saying it was "unacceptable" for parents to hit children.

    Colette Marshall, the UK director of Save the Children, said: "Children are vulnerable and are currently treated unequally. They must have the same protection from assault as adults."









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