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'Hitting Children Is Wrong.' Evaluate this statement in the form of an advisory paper to a relevant Government department, onthe need (or otherwise) to bring in legislation to ban the physical punishment of children.

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'HITTING CHILDREN IS WRONG.' EVALUATE THIS STATEMENT IN THE FORM OF AN ADVISORY PAPER TO A RELEVANT GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT, ON THE NEED (OR OTHERWISE) TO BRING IN LEGISLATION TO BAN THE PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN. The current law in place in the UK, with respect to smacking children, is known as the law of 'reasonable chastisement.' This law permits, 'the use by parents of reasonable chastisement when disciplining their children.' That is, a parent is permitted to hit a child as a way of enforcing discipline providing the physical punishment is within moderate to reasonable limits. There is however evidence which suggests hitting a child is both wrong and ineffective in its aim of teaching a child right from wrong. This evidence will be presented here in an effort to advise your government of the reasons legislation to ban the physical punishment of children should be established. A ruling that UK legislation on the physical punishment of children violates the UN convention on the rights of the child and breaches Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, means your government is required to amend the UK law. Hitting children is wrong. It violates a child's human rights. Currently everyone in the UK except children is protected against physical violence by law. What gives us the right to discriminate against children in this way and deny them the protection available to everyone else as their right? ...read more.


It is noted by Hunt 1997 that, 'many parents are unaware of alternative approaches to managing a child's behaviour therefore when punishment doesn't accomplish a parent's goals it is liable to escalate and cross the fine line into becoming child abuse. Figures show that at least one child a week dies in the UK as a result of parental abuse (The Observer 29/09/02). With a ban on hitting children the number could be significantly reduced. Coupled with the ban parents could be given the significant education needed to advise alternative types of punishment through both measures smacking would be given less opportunity to escalate into child abuse. The benefits of a complete ban can already be seen in Sweden. The first country to bring in a ban on hitting children in 1979. Figures for Sweden stating that between 1981 and 1996 only four children were reported to have been killed by their parents. These figures are strong evidence that banning the wrong practice of smacking children can have a significant positive effect on reducing amounts of child abuse, which the UK could surely benefit from. Another reason that hitting can be said to be wrong, comes form evidence found in several reports, that indicate physical punishment is not only ineffective in reaching its goal, but is also wrongly teaching a child violent behaviour and suggesting that this type of behaviour is the way to deal with situations in which someone behaves in a way you don't like. ...read more.


The evidence reviews suggests that a ban of hitting children would not only be of great benefit to children, protecting their rights but also valuable to the public as a whole in attempting to reduce levels of violence and criminal behaviour within our society. A survey carried out by the NSPCC showed that the majority of people in England and Wales, that is 58% of people support a change in the law protecting children from being hit, provided parents are not prosecuted for trivial smacks, (NSPCC 2002). The way to enforce a law against hitting children, without compromising the position of a parent in disciplining their children has been demonstrated already in eight countries across Europe, who has already enforced the law. The purpose of the law has been to educate adults in alternative ways to discipline a child without compromising their safety and human rights. The purpose of the law should not be to punish parents, but protect our children. If parents were perhaps notified of the research which suggests physical punishment is ineffective and may lead to more violent behaviour and advised that the purpose of such a law would be to protect children rather than punish parents, I feel a ban would not be refuted and would ultimately be a very effective way of developing our societies social attitudes and protecting our children form the painful and humiliating practice of violating a child's human rights, that is physical punishment. ...read more.

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