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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May, 2004, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Majority 'support' smacking ban
Actors simulate a smacking scene
The new survey is likely to prompt debate
Most people would support closing a legal loophole that allows parents to smack their children, says a survey.

A total of 71% of people would favour such a ban, according to a survey commissioned by the Children are Unbeatable! Alliance.

About 350 organisations, including NSPCC and Liberty, want to end the defence of "reasonable chastisement".

The group wants the Children Bill to be amended to give youngsters the same protection as adults in the home.

More than 2,000 people were questioned in the research carried out by MORI.

Children should be protected from assault just as adults are
Adam, Brighton

Of those questioned seven out of 10 supported a change in the law to give children the same protection from being hit in the family home as that currently enjoyed by adults.

But Lynette Burrows, who has written a book accusing the state of trying to take the control of children away from parents, believes the current law is adequate.

She told the BBC she did not believe the findings of the survey.

"It is only an attempt to interfere in what ordinary people think is right and proper.

"I think it is a thinly disguised return to an unspecified but masculine type figure telling women that they can't be trusted. It is an absolute insult".

In the modern family home, the law must be clear that hitting is wrong regardless of age
Alliance spokesperson Sir William Utting

NSPCC Director & Chief Executive Mary Marsh said: "This shows that the general public supports sensible and fair modernisation of the law to give children equal protection.

"The current law giving children less protection dates back to the century before last and is clearly out of step with modern family values".

"In the 21st Century, equal protection must be every child's right.

"It is vital that hitting children becomes as socially unacceptable as hitting anyone else, which means modernising the law, as at least ten other European countries have done successfully".

The BBC's Reeta Chakrabarti
"Many see smacking as a matter of private discipline"

UK 'lags behind' on smacking
20 Nov 02  |  UK News
Europe turns against smacking
18 Jan 00  |  UK News

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