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  1. ITV Report

Jersey States approve smacking ban

The Children & Education (Amendment) Law means that corporal punishment, including smacking, would be banned everywhere, including the home. Credit: PA

Politicians in Jersey have voted to ban smacking.

The States voted in favour of the bill, which was drawn up in October, into law by 39 votes to four.

The Children & Education (Amendment) Law means that corporal punishment, including smacking, would be banned everywhere, including in the home.

The new law will come into force in April, meaning Jersey will be the first place in the British Isles to introduce the smacking ban. The Scottish Parliament has already voted in favour of the policy, but the law will not come into effect until later in the year.

Senator Sam Mézec, who tabled the legislation, says it is a positive step for the States.

Senator Sam Mézec put forward the legislation in October. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Jersey has a very bad history when it comes to looking after children here, so I think to be the first place in the British Isles to actually have this established in law will be a demonstration that we're changing our ways and things are improving.

I think it will be something that in the future we'll look back on and be very proud of.

– Senator Sam Mézec, Minister for Children and Housing

The legislation faced some opposition in the Chamber. Senator Sarah Ferguson said she believes a "short, sharp, smack" should be allowed, saying it teaches children about responsibility and the consequences of their actions.

Senator Mézec responded by saying that smacking helps to create a cycle of violence and teaches children that it is okay to use violence to deal with situations.

Earlier this year, the States voted to remove the Article 79 defence of ‘reasonable corporal punishment of a child’ from the Children Law 2002, after a proposition by Deputy Mary Le Hegarat.