The Christian Institute

News Release

Ban on smacking: unpopular, unworkable and unnecessary

The UK’s four regional Children’s Commissioners are expected to jointly call for a ban on smacking this weekend. The Christian Institute supports parents who sometimes use a loving smack to protect or correct their child.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said:

“It is currently perfectly legal for loving parents to smack their children. However, because of political correctness, there have already been a number of cases of parents being falsely accused of child abuse simply for using ordinary smacking. That can only get worse if a ban is introduced. There is no evidence that the current law is a problem, it is firm enough to protect children and fair enough to protect parents.

“When the Government last explored the possibility of a ban they found it was deeply unpopular. The Government’s own survey found that 88% of the public believed it was sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child. Parliament overwhelmingly rejected an outright ban when it was last debated. MPs did not accept the arguments put by the NSPCC and other children’s rights groups. On 2 November 2004 they voted by 426 to 77 against an outright ban.

“An outright ban on smacking could not be consistently enforced. It would waste police time on trivial incidents while genuine cases of child abuse go unchecked.

“A ban is not necessary. An ordinary smack is not child abuse. Most parents smack their children at some point. Do the Children’s Commissioners believe they are all child abusers? Nor does smacking teach children that violence is the answer. Most people were smacked as a child and are now perfectly peaceful citizens.

“Sweden has had a smacking ban for over 20 years. It has been a disaster. Child abuse has increased. Children have become more violent. More children have been taken away from their parents by the authorities. I don’t want to see any of that here in the UK.

“To say children should have the same protection under the law as adults is an absurd oversimplification. There are many differences in law for children. For obvious reasons children are not allowed to drive, marry, vote or own a firearms license. No one claims ‘inequality’ on these issues.”