Have your say

This week’s Have your say asks whether gay men with
learning difficulties should be allowed to have sex and offered

What do you think?

Have your say by clicking here
and the responses we receive will be published


We asked for views on the smacking of children and
whether it should be banned in England and Wales. These are the
responses we received:

Yes I think smacking children should be banned
in England and Wales (and also the smacking of children over 3 as
well in Scotland).

Lizzie Emmett

“Yes of course smacking children should be banned. In a few
decades time this poll may be exhumed by social historians to
astonish people that yes, fairly recently, people did actually
think the law should allow adults to hit

Rachel Hodgkin

There is no doubt in my mind that we need to
remove the reasonable chastisement defence from our laws on assault
at the very least, and that to put a specific prohibition of
physical punishment in the civil law would be the best solution for
the public, professionals and our courts. Almost everyone in this
country wants to protect children from violence, and to give adults
support for a fulfilling and enjoyable experience of parenthood.
The disagreement is over the best way of balancing society’s
diverse rights and wishes. Banning physical punishment would be the
most just and clearest means of doing this, given the medical and
psychological evidence and in terms of a cultural shift away from
violence that has already seen the prohibition of smacking (and
worse) in schools. The evidence from abroad is that it is an
essential part of a wider strategy to educate the public about less
harmful and more effective ways of bringing up children, and that
there have been no negative impacts of reform. It is time for the
government to take a strong lead and accept its obligations under
European and international law to give children the same protection
as adults from harmful assaults.

Rowan Boyson (Ms)

Researcher, Policy and Public Affairs


I firmly believe that the smacking of children
should be banned in England and Wales. Children have inadequate
protection under the law, and the experiences of other countries
who have banned the hitting of children in the home, have
demonstrated that this is not about criminalising parents, but
about protecting children through support for positive

Anne Crowley



Yes, I think the law should be changed to ban
hitting children. Violence is dangerous and children are
vulnerable. Children need full legal protection. Your article did
not mention the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the
UK signed up to in 1991. Article 19 requires governments to protect
children from [inter alia] physical violence. In 1995 the U.N
monitoring committee said the UK should do something about the
‘reasonable chastisement’ defence. The UK is about to be monitored
again in September – what will the monitoring committee say?

In Wales we are working to persuade our assembly to take a view
on this matter even though it is not a devolved responsibility. The
assembly approved new Regulations for Childminders in Wales which
ban smacking, shaking or humiliating

Jill Taylor

‘Sdim Curo Plant!

Children are Unbeatable! Cymru

The issue of the smacking of children is a
very complex issue, and one I intend to avoid. The issue of the
amount of work that could stem from a law that forbade smacking
however is one that needs attention. It is my view that any such
law could be unworkable, due to many factors, but the main one, as
usual, will be resources. Social workers cannot handle the workload
now, let alone an increase, and any new legislation always brings
an increase. This issue will bring a massive increase in work, and
the legal issues alone make the mind boggle. Anyone who feels that
the social work structure can absorb the increase, is either a
manager, or wishes to be, or has not practised social work for a
very long time.

Nick Savage

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