Scotland has now made smacking your child a criminal offence. Their reason for doing so was that children should have the same protection as adults. If an adult were to smack another adult, they could be prosecuted for assault.
There are 57 other countries across the world where smacking a child is illegal. Ireland banned smacking in 2015.
Wales is due to follow suit but the matter is still being debated. At present, parents in England are still allowed to use what is called “reasonable chastisement” and there are no plans to criminalise that in England.
The meaning of “reasonable chastisement” is unclear and it depends upon the circumstances of each case. Severe physical punishment can result in a charge of actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm or child cruelty. Minor bruising, reddening of the skin and swellings can all constitute an offence.
Some might argue that smacking is outdated and unnecessary. Others might say that the younger generation need more discipline. We will have to wait for that younger generation to turn into adults before we see the results.
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