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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

25 OCT 2007

No smacking ban

25/10/2007. The Childrens Minister, Kevin Brennan announced on Thursday that there would not be a complete ban on parents smacking their children following a government review that found the majority of parents opposed such a ban.

The review found that smacking is becoming a less commonly used form of discipline as more parents recognise that there are more effective and acceptable methods of disciplining children. While many parents say they will not smack, a majority of parents say that smacking should not be banned outright.

The 2004 Childrens Act removed the legal defence of reasonable punishment" for parents and carers who assault their children. Under the Act, parents are currently allowed to smack their children as long as it doesn't leave visible bruising, grazes, scratches, minor swellings or cuts.

In a statement Mr Brennan said: "The government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence it is not working satisfactorily."

Full copies of the review report of Section 58 of the Children Act 2004 are available from the Department for Children, Schools and Families website:

Family Court Practice, The

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