LOCAL people have backed calls for a ban on the physical punishment of children in Northern Ireland.
NSPCC NI is urging political parties to get back to the table and work together to implement the ban.
The call to action comes on the one-year anniversary of the introduction of equal protection in Wales, which made any type of corporal punishment, including smacking, hitting, slapping, and shaking, illegal.
Currently, the law in Northern Ireland allows a parent or carer physically punish a child, by using a defence of ‘reasonable punishment’ if they are charged with an offence of assault.
In a poll, we asked readers on our We Are Tyrone page if they were against the ‘smacking’ of a child.
In response, 65 per-cent said they did not think it was OK to smack a child as ‘reasonable punishment’, while 35 per-cent claimed it was ok to do so.
The NSPCC wants to see a change in the law coinciding with effective support for families in Northern Ireland on more effective ways of managing children’s behaviour, such as positive parenting.
Natalie Whelehan, policy and public affairs manager for NSPCC Northern Ireland, said, “We know from our research that parents and carers do not believe that physical punishment is an effective form of discipline. We also know that it can be a key risk factor for more serious physical abuse. There is a clear tidal wave of support for a change in the law to remove the defence of ‘reasonable punishment’ and give our children equal protection in law from assault as adults.”
l For more information on using positive parenting, including ways to set clear and consistent boundaries, parents and carers can visit the NSPCC website at Support for parents | NSPCC
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