Children’s tsar backs ban on smacking and urges England to follow Scotland and Wales in law change

The children’s commissioner yesterday backed a ban on smacking in England.

Dame Rachel de Souza said she ‘absolutely abhors’ violence and ‘admires’ that a law banning the punishment exists in Scotland and Wales.

‘I’m against violence of any kind against children,’ she told Times Radio. ‘Because children are more vulnerable than adults, I think we do need to ensure that their rights are supported.’

Parents in England and Northern Ireland have a legal defence for smacking if the action constitutes ‘reasonable punishment’.

Dame Rachel de Souza said she ¿absolutely abhors¿ violence and ¿admires¿ that a law banning the punishment exists in Scotland and Wales

Dame Rachel de Souza said she ‘absolutely abhors’ violence and ‘admires’ that a law banning the punishment exists in Scotland and Wales

Scotland banned the physical punishment in 2020 and the Welsh parliament introduced a ban last month.

Dame Rachel said: ‘I certainly admire Scotland and Wales moving on this. It’s certainly something that I think we should consider.’

However a government source indicated there were no plans to change the law. 

‘Most people would say a light smack on the arm from a parent to a child isn’t child abuse,’ the source said.

¿Most people would say a light smack on the arm from a parent to a child isn¿t child abuse,¿ the government source said. File image

‘Most people would say a light smack on the arm from a parent to a child isn’t child abuse,’ the government source said. File image

‘We trust parents to discipline their children, when necessary, in the way they think is right.

‘We’ve purposely not interfered in that too much. Child abuse is an entirely separate matter.’

Tory critics have argued a proposed ban on smacking would criminalise parents and be an overreach by the ‘nanny state’.

But Dame Rachel added: ‘I think we’ve got a great opportunity to look, watch it, as it’s embedded [in Wales], and I would be supportive – certainly, from what I’ve seen so far – I would be supportive if our government decided to do the same.’

More than 60 nations have legislated against the physical punishment of children, outlawing smacking, slapping and shaking.

Source

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