An opinion poll suggests most adults still oppose a ban on
The poll, by Populus for the Times, found 59 per cent
of adults were against a change in the law to give children the
same protection as adults from being hit or assaulted.
But more than four out of 10 would now support a change and 72
per cent favour measures to educate parents about alternatives to
corporal punishment for children.
Men, people in the highest income groups, and people who voted
Conservative were the most likely to oppose change.
Only among 18- to 24-year-olds was there a majority (59 per
cent) in favour of a smacking ban.
The poll contrasts with one by Mori for the NSPCC in 2002, which
indicated that most people would support a change in the law to ban
hitting children if it were clear that “trivial smacks” by parents
would not result in prosecution. The NSPCC found that parents were
more likely to support a smacking ban under these circumstances
than adults in general.
The United Nations has expressed “deep regret” that British law
continues to accept the defence of “reasonable chastisement” in
respect of parents hitting children. But the government has claimed
a total ban on smacking would be unworkable. Prime Minister Tony
Blair said discipline was “a matter of individual choice for
The Scottish executive abandoned a plan to ban smacking of
children under three in 2002 after failing to persuade enough
members of the Scottish parliament to support the measure.