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The Government has been criticised from the Council of Europe for failing to introduce a total ban on the smacking of children.
The smacking debate has been reopened as the Council of Europe and Save the Children held an open meeting in Strasbourg today to discuss the issue with senior Council officials and government ministers.
The UK is one of the few nations in the Europe to not have completely outlawed the smacking of children. Twenty European countries have introduced a smacking ban and eight have committed to do so, according to the Council of Europe.
Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio (pictured left) said: "The UK is one of the countries that has not yet implemented a full ban. In part, this is because the traditional parent-child relationship in the UK is one of authority and state intervention into family affairs is still not welcome.
"Prohibiting all corporal punishment is a legal imperative and I hope the United Kingdom will take that essential step urgently," Ms Boer-Buquicchio added.
Research from Tulane University in New Orleans published this month in the Journal of Paediatrics reveals that children who are smacked more frequently at age three are more are likely to be aggressive by age five.
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.
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