UK Justice Secretary defends child smacking

Date: 4th February 2013
Category: Civil Rights and Freedoms

UK Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has defended parents' 'right' to smack. A spokesperson for the children's charity, NSPCC, said: "There are more positive ways to discipline children and a clear message that hitting anyone is not right would benefit all of society."

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling says he smacked his own children when they were young and has defended the right of parents to smack. The Conservative minister, who has two grown-up children, told the Mail on Sunday smacking young children sometimes "sends a message".

Parents in the UK are not explicitly banned from smacking their children. But the 2004 Children's Act removed the defence of "reasonable chastisement" in England and Wales for any child punishment that caused such injuries as bruising, swelling, cuts, grazes or scratches. Similar laws exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A spokeswoman for the children's charity, the NSPCC, said: "Whilst parents are currently allowed to smack their children, the evidence is continuing to build that it is ineffective and harmful to children."