RCPCH responds to recent headlines on smacking

The Children's Commissioner for England has said she supports a ban on smacking children in England. Wales recently became the second nation in the UK to ban smacking with the move enshrined in law in March. Scotland implemented a ban in November 2020.
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In response to recent headlines on ‘smacking’, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Dr Camilla Kingdon said: 

Hurting a child is not acceptable and is a form of child abuse. When a parent or carer raises a hand to a defenceless child - whether that’s a smack, slap or another physically harmful behaviour - they have lost control. 

Extensive evidence shows that children who are physically punished are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem and show more aggressive and antisocial behaviour than children who aren’t smacked. There is no evidence of any significant benefit from the use of hitting as a form of discipline.

England and Northern Ireland are way behind Scotland and Wales. It’s time to change these out of date laws, and give children the same protections as adults across the UK.