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Smacking kids 'should be banned', says children's tsar

Parents should be banned from smacking children, according to the Children's Commissioner for England.

Smacking kids 'should be banned', says children's tsar Credit: ITV News

Maggie Atkinson told The Independent it was her personal view that the law gives pets and adults more rights to be protected from violence than children, and she favours a total ban, which would see parents face criminal action for corporal punishment.

Current rules make it illegal for a parent to smack a child if it leaves a bruise but permit a lighter smack or ''reasonable chastisement''.

NSPCC: Smacking 'ineffective and harmful to children'

The NSPCC has issued a statement saying that 'there are better ways to discipline' children than sacking:

Whilst parents are currently allowed to smack their children, the evidence is continuing to build that it is ineffective and harmful to children. There are more positive and constructive ways to discipline children and a clear message that hitting anyone is not right would benefit all of society.

Smacking children: Your views

After Justice Minister Chris Grayling admitted he smacked his own children and said he believes that smacking "sends a message" to children, we asked you if you thought parents had the right to smack their children:

  • Lisa Joanne Addison: "No it's wrong ... you don't have a right to hit another adult so what gives you the right to hit a child. It's assault and people should be prosecuted and accountable for their actions ... and yes I would interfere if I saw it in public and I have done so."
  • Galina English: "Yes I think parents should be allowed to smack their own parents smacked me and it never did me any harm..."
  • Yvonne Armstrong: "Yep, it definitely never hurt me and I'm a better person and respect my elders."
  • Carly Crispin: "As much as I would hate to smack my children I have to agree that children from our generation and before have respect, children now days do not, even my children struggle with the meaning of this word."

Grayling defends parents' right to smack their children

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has defended parents' right to smack their children and admitted he did it to his own, it has emerged.

The Tory cabinet minister said he was not opposed to smacking youngsters, claiming sometimes it "sends a message".

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Mr Grayling has two children, aged 20 and 16, with his wife Susan and told the Mail on Sunday he occasionally smacked them when they were younger.

"You chastise children when they are bad, as my parents did me," he said. "I'm not opposed to smacking. It is to be used occasionally. Sometimes it sends a message - but I don't hanker for the days when children were severely beaten at school."

Sources close to the minister said tonight he used the punishment on an "occasional" basis and only when "really warranted".