UK commissioners for children unite against smacking

The children’s commissioners for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have joined forces to step up the pressure on the government to introduce a total ban on smacking.

A little more than a year after the Children Act 2004 was passed, allowing parents to continue to administer “reasonable chastisement”, the four commissioners have issued a joint statement stressing that there is “no room for compromise, for attempting to define acceptable smacking”.

In a letter to education secretary Ruth Kelly flagging up the joint statement, England’s children’s commissioner Al Aynsley-Green urged her to reform the law and “give children full legal protection from assault”.

“We believe it to be a matter of fundamental principle that children and young people should have the same protection as adults,” Green said. “Their rights to human dignity and to physical integrity are just as important as those of adults.”

The Department for Education and Skills, which has repeatedly rejected calls for a total smacking ban, insisted it did not condone physical punishment against children.

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