Early years group calls for smacking ban

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Early years training organisation NEyTCO has launched a social media awareness campaign in support of banning smacking.


The organisers are encouraging people to share messages of support via Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness of the issue, and to sign the UK Government and Parliament petition to ban smacking of children in England.

NEyTCO says that the law in the UK is currently unclear as it is illegal for a parent or carer to smack their own child except where it amounts to ‘reasonable punishment’, according to section 58 of the Children’s Act 2004. However, what constitutes ‘reasonable punishment’ is open to interpretation as it is not defined by law.

Scotland is set to become the first country in the UK to ban smacking. Last year, the Scottish government announced plans to remove the legal defence of ‘justifiable assault’ in Scottish law, which would make Scotland the first nation in the UK to fulfil children’s right to equal protection.

The Welsh Assembly has recently held a 12-week public consultation on the issue, which ended earlier this month.

The UK is one of just five EU countries that still allows smacking, despite the United Nations in 2015 urging a smacking ban for parents be introduced.

NEyTCO says that the problem is global.

In India, Dr Swati Popat Vats, the director of Polar Jumbo Kids chain of pre-schools, recently launched a campaign after a survey revealed that more than three-quarters of parents in the country smack their child.

The NEyTCO campaign has adopted Dr Popat Vats’ hashtag #Iwillnot and will be sharing the logo and posters throughout this week and the campaign.

Otehr campaign backers include Dr Robbyn Peters Bennett, member of the US Alliance to End the Hitting of Children, a psychotherapist, educator, and child advocate who specialises in the treatment of mental health problems due to early abuse and neglect.

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