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Last Updated: Thursday August 14 2008 14:09 GMT

Girl's dad arrested over smacking

Jim McCulloch and his daughter, Jess

Should parents smack their kids? That's the question loads of people are asking after a 13-year-old girl reported her dad to the police for slapping her.

Jess McCullough's dad, Jim, admitted hitting her when he caught her banging on a neighbour's window at midnight.

Jess said she was so shocked, she called the police, who then arrested her dad. He's now got a criminal record because he admitted hitting her.

Only light smacking is allowed in the UK, but it mustn't leave a mark.

But the NSPCC children's charity wants the law to be changed so that adults can NEVER smack children.

This case is pretty extreme, as not every parent who smacks their child will get a criminal record.

Ask Aaron - Graphic of CBBC's agony uncle

Lucy Thorpe, from the NSPCC, said calling the police if you're smacked is a drastic thing to do and should only be a last resort.

"We would say keep calm and don't act in the heat of the moment," she said.

"Talk to a friend, talk to a family member you trust, or to a teacher or school counsellor. They will be able to help you think things through, listen to you and give you some advice on what you can do."

Unexpected result

Mr McCulloch said he'd never hit Jess before and only did it this time because he thought it was the only way to get her to understand what she'd done.

Jess said she was sorry for what had happened as she didn't expect her dad to get into so much trouble.

"I was expecting my dad to come home from the police station and for everything to be the same as before," she said.