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evaluate the arguments for and against the introduction of legislation on smacking children

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Introduction

Evaluate the arguments for and against the introduction of legislation on smacking children By Louise Smith From the 27 October 2003 a new law was put in place with regards to children and physical punishment. The new law states that parents in England and Wales who smack children so hard it leaves a mark can and will be punished, this could lead to a prison sentence of up to five years in jail. Previously, the law allowed parents the right of 'reasonable chastisement' in disciplining their children. Parents were able to administer moderate physical punishment to their children without liable conviction for assault. But, the concept of 'reasonable chastisement' dates back to 1860 and is difficult to define in the 21st century. ...read more.

Middle

the position of this responsibility lies upon the parents and it is up to the child protection agencies to deal with the individuals when that line is crossed. Ministers see their opposition to a complete ban as a decision of common sense. A decision that balances the essential need for children to be protected with the right of parents to not have government interfering in family life. An example of this is the view of the labour party; "We do not want to criminalize parents". (Bainbridge 2007). This may seem like quite an ironic view considering the rebellion of 47 labour mps to back an outright ban. A rebellion defeated by 424 to 75 votes. ...read more.

Conclusion

What is in place at the moment means that children actually have less protection under the law of assault than adults do. This compromise causes more confusion as it removes the 'reasonable chastisement' defence for assault and battery of a child but retains it for actual bodily harm and the NSPCC criticize this compromise, saying it defines an acceptable threshold of violence towards children. To conclude, the general consensus of the government and public is that a balance between parents right to discipline and protecting children is what is to be ultimately achieved. Whereas the view of child protection agencies is that by relying on physical punishment, parents are teaching a child to be afraid and are potentially storing up a lot of problems for that child's future. ...read more.

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