MP seeks to remove smacking defence

Labour MP David Hinchliffe has pledged to table an amendment to the
Children Bill when it comes before the House of Commons to remove
the defence of reasonable chastisement used by parents who smack
their children.

Hinchliffe, a former social worker, said his motivation arose from
his practical experience in the child protection field where he had
seen children returned to abusive families because the courts had
accepted the defence of reasonable chastisement for a child’s

He said it was “scandalous” that there was one child death at the
hands of parents or carers a week in the UK, and as a result the
issue was “crucially important”.

Education secretary Charles Clarke is believed to be sympathetic to
a free vote on the issue.

Further amendments, including one extending the new duty on local
authorities to improve educational attainment of looked-after
children to school governors, are being planned by the Interagency
Group, a group of organisations including the Association of
Directors of Social Services, the Local Government Association and
children’s charity NCH.

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