NewsEngland & Northern Ireland: doctors call for an end to 'reasonable punishment'

England & Northern Ireland: doctors call for an end to ‘reasonable punishment’

Campaign: Equal protection from assault in England and Northern Ireland, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)

What are the main points?

> Children’s doctors are calling for legislative change that would create equal protection for children against physical assault, such as smacking, hitting and slapping.

> Research shows that children who experience physical punishment are almost three times as likely to develop poor mental health and are twice as likely to experience serious physical assault and abuse.

> The RCPCH are calling on all political parties to incorporate the removal of the ‘reasonable punishment’ defence into their manifestoes.

> Scotland and Wales are among more than 60 other countries worldwide that already give children the same protection from assault that adults have.


RCPCH officer for child protection and consultant paediatrician Professor Andrew Roland said: ‘The laws around physical punishment as they stand are unjust and dangerously vague. They create a grey area in which some forms of physical punishment may be lawful, and some are not… There must be no grey areas when it comes to safeguarding children.’

Image | Shutterstock


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