UK Children's Official: Ban All Parental Smacks
Maggie Atkinson says it's strange that pets get stronger protection
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2013 10:29 AM CST
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(Newser) – Britain's official in charge of children's welfare may have just launched a national debate on the nanny state. Maggie Atkinson tells the Independent that she thinks parents should face criminal punishment for even mild smacks of their kids. The quote roiling up the British press:

  • “Personally, having been a teacher, and never having had an issue where I’d need to use physical punishment, I believe we should move to ban it. Because in law you are forbidden from striking another adult, and from physically chastising your pets, but somehow there is a loophole around the fact that you can physically chastise your child. It’s counter-evidential.”

Current UK law forbids parents from striking their children hard enough to leave a bruise, notes the Guardian, but "reasonable chastisement" and lighter smacks are allowed. Atkinson wants to tighten that up, but she emphasized that she was expressing a personal preference and wasn't pursuing legislation as Children's Commissioner for England. It would be a tough sell anyway. The Telegraph recalls that a Labour MP made headlines for blaming the 2011 London riots on the current anti-smacking laws, arguing that they had led to an undisciplined younger generation.