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NEWS: PACEY pushes to ban smacking in England and Northern Ireland

In response to recent success in Wales who last week introduced a ban on smacking, PACEY has worked in partnership with key early years professionals and organisations to call on Government to protect children of England and Northern Ireland in the same way that children are now protected against smacking in Wales and Scotland.

The letter welcomes recent changes in Wales and highlights the large number of issues that physical punishment can lead to for children, adults and families. It is time for this outdated law for England and Northern Ireland to change and follow the rest of the UK.

Read the letter below and full details published in The Telegraph.

"Sir – It is time to ban the physical punishment of children. This week Wales introduced a ban on smacking, following similar legislation in Scotland. The children of England and Northern Ireland should be protected too. 

 Physical punishment can lead to a lower quality of the parent and child relationship, poorer mental health in childhood and adulthood, higher levels of aggression and anti-social behaviour and an increased risk of being a victim of physical abuse, as well as not being an effective strategy to bring about long term improvements in children’s behaviour. 

The current law allows a defence of ‘reasonable punishment’ but as this relates to the intent, rather than the impact of smacking, it is almost impossible to prove that punishment is unreasonable.

Smacking is outdated and we believe that there are many other more effective ways of teaching children to behave appropriately than by hitting them.  Sixty countries have now banned smacking, and children in Wales and Scotland are now protected.  It is time for a ban across the whole of the UK.

Signed by Association of Educational Psychologists, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Action for Children, Social Workers Union, DECP - British Psychological Society, Centre for Mental Health, Children’s Rights Alliance for England, part of Just for Kids Law, National Children’s Bureau, UNISON, Children England, YoungMinds and Prospect Education and Children’s Services Group."