Minister have rejected a ban on smacking children after a review of legislation.
The review found that smacking “is becoming a less commonly used form of discipline” and the majority of parents said there should be no outright ban, junior children’s minister Kevin Brennan told parliament yesterday.
“The police have discretion to deal with cases as they consider appropriate, taking into account factors including the evidence available, the public interest and the best interests of the child,” Brennan said.
The government will retain the law on smacking under section 58 of the Children Act 2004.
Children’s commissioner for England Sir Al Aynsley-Green was among critics including children’s charities that called for a ban on smacking.
He said he was “disappointed” at the government’s decision, adding: “This is a missed opportunity to protect children from violence in the home. Children and young people should have the same right to protection under the law on common assault as that afforded to adults – there is no good reason why children are the only people in the UK who can still be lawfully hit.
“They are protected from assault in most other settings. By not changing the legislation, we continue to send out confusing messages to parents about the acceptable use of violence across society.”