Give children the right messages about the use of violence and the same protection from assault as adults,
Judy Lister, UK director of Save the Children, January 18, 2000
As we enter the 21st Century it is surely extraordinary that we are arguing over how much we can hit our children - should parents only be allowed to hit children as long as they don't leave bruising or cause injury to children's eyes or brain?

Should parents be stopped from using canes or belts but allowed to use their open hands?

Should the fact that the child is a boy or a girl make a difference to how much a child gets hit?

These kind of questions simply miss the whole point of how we should be treating our children - in ways that show that we respect them, that are effective in teaching them the difference between right and wrong and that help to reduce the level of violence in society rather than contributing to it.

Hitting children does none of these things.

Save the Children argues that only a complete ban on smacking can:

Offer proper protection to children by giving an unambiguous signal to parents about what is permitted. Anything else leaves parents confused as to what might be 'inside' the law and what might be "outside". Parents who find it difficult to understand the difference between a mild rebuke and a damaging beating, or who go too far, will feel that the law is on their side.

Anything less than a ban on smacking means many parents will continue to assume that hitting their children is their only option. In fact there are many other ways of disciplining children which are more effective and which teach children self discipline without hurting them.

Give children the same protection from assault as adults. Surely children - who are smaller and more vulnerable - should receive at least the same protection as adults? Yet without a ban on smacking we are saying that their human rights to be protected from violence count for less than adults.

Give children the right messages about the use of violence. No one wants children to grow up in a violent society but, inside the very place where they should be safest, we teach them that hurting someone is the answer to problems.

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