The government is likely to introduce legislation on
disciplining children by the end of the year, according to Peter
Newell, chairperson of End Physical Punishment of Children.
This follows a ruling from the European Convention on Human
Rights that said the legal defence of “reasonable chastisement”
breached children’s human rights.
Newell told delegates that campaigners had been pressing the
Department of Health to publish an analysis of the responses to
last year’s consultation paper on child discipline and smacking.
Ministers have now said that the analysis would be ready by the end
of the summer, ahead of proposed legislation, according to
However, Newell was not confident there would be an outright ban
on smacking. The paper had specifically ruled out a zero tolerance
policy, he added.
“I can’t see a human rights-based policy from the government at
the moment,” said Newell. “It is disrespectful to children and
undermines the effort of all of us trying to move society on. We
need to demonstrate there is a professional consensus on banning
smacking. We need to be impatient on behalf of children.”