Published April 27, 2010
Britain is coming under fire from the Council of Europe for failing to introduce a total ban on smacking children.The UK is one of the few nations in the Europe to not have completely outlawed the punishment, according to the human rights body.
The Strasbourg-based council has already blamed the failure on the British Government's reluctance to meddle in family affairs.
Council deputy secretary Maud de Boer-Buquicchio argued that the UK's stance "justifies 'reasonable' violence against children", the Daily Express reported. She said: "The UK is one of the countries that has not yet implemented a full ban.
"In part, this is because the traditional parent-child relationship in the UK is one of authority and state intervention into family affairs is still not welcome."
Twenty European countries have introduced a ban of corporal punishment and eight have committed to do so, according to the council's website.
Ms Boer-Buquicchio added: "Prohibiting all corporal punishment is a legal imperative and I hope the United Kingdom will take that essential step urgently."
Corporal punishment has been banned in British schools but mild smacking is permitted in the home under a "reasonable chastisement'' defence against common assault.
The Government last month announced that a legal loophole allowing private tutors to smack children would be closed.
But the law does not cover part-time education institutions like Sunday schools or madrassas.
Schools Secretary Ed Balls has said the current arrangements are a "sensible and proportionate" approach.
A study by Tulane University in New Orleans indicated that three-year-olds who are smacked are more likely to be aggressive by the age of five, the council's website said.
A ban on smacking in British state schools came into force in 1987 and was extended to independent schools in 1999.