The Christian Institute

News Release

Innocent parents risk arrest for smacking their children

Parents will be plunged into fear and confusion, and may even risk arrest, if the Government goes ahead with its plans to re-write the laws on how parents can discipline their children, says a leading family policy research group.

In a report published today The Christian Institute says that plans to introduce a new “smacking checklist” would inevitably lead to social services departments intruding into ordinary family life.

The report Locking up Parents? argues that most parents are completely unaware just how sweeping the Government’s proposals are to “modernise” the law on smacking. The official consultation on the plans ends on Good Friday, 21st April.

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of the Institute, said today:

“Under the proposals innocent parents will risk arrest for smacking their own children. This will lead to a climate of fear and confusion amongst parents.

“There have already been a disturbing number of cases where over zealous social workers have used their legal powers inappropriately. Serious mistakes have already led to innocent parents being accused of child abuse. The Government’s proposed new law greatly increases the scope for such blunders to be made.

“Government Ministers rightly say that parents know the difference between smacking and beating. The problem is that many social workers do not. They believe they are one in the same and see both as child abuse.

“The Government’s proposals are an over-reaction to a decision from the European Court of Human Rights. The implications of the European case will have to be taken on board by our judges anyway because the Human Rights Convention is being incorporated into our law. There is no legal reason for new smacking laws.”

  1. The Christian Institute is a Christian policy research organisation that seeks to influence public policy from the perspective of historic Christian teaching.
  2. Locking up Parents? (ISBN 1 901086 09 7) is published today priced £2.50 (including p + p)