Here's why one university lecturer wants to ban smacking children

A university lecturer believes smacking children should be made illegal [Photo: Rex]
A university lecturer believes smacking children should be made illegal [Photo: Rex]

Smacking children should be made illegal, according to one university lecturer.

Felicity Gerry, a law lecturer at Charles Darwin University in Australia believes spanking, hitting or smacking a child should be outlawed.

Though physical punishment of children is illegal in 49 countries, in the UK, US and Australia ‘reasonable chastisement’ is still allowed, but Ms Gerry believes it is unacceptable.

“Slapping, spanking, smacking and hitting a child with a wooden paddle are forms of violence that would amount to assault if applied to an adult,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

The co-author of co-author of an article ‘Physical Punishment of Children’, published in the International Journal of Child Rights, Ms Gerry claims that the only way to change society’s ‘deeply embedded’ way of thinking is to see a total ban smacking.

“Using physical force intending to cause a child pain or discomfort to punish or correct behaviour … is embedded in cultural views, government law, social policy and in some religious texts,” she said.

“Either society must demand change, or law-makers must make the brave decision to change the untenable laws that permit child abuse in the form of punishment.”

The lecturer went on to say that though smacking a child may seem to alter their behaviour in the immediate aftermath, it won’t have an affect on improving their behaviour in the long term.

Should smacking children be outlawed? [Photo: Rex]
Should smacking children be outlawed? [Photo: Rex]

Her comments come after last year it was revealed that smacking children in the UK could be banned if a UN inquiry ruled in favour of making the parenting practice illegal.

But, with over half of British parents believing that smacking children is an effective form of discipline, there could be a large number of UK-based mums and dads who disagree with Ms Gerry and who therefore might have something to say if the practice is outlawed.

As part of an ongoing research into British parenting, a survey by Voucher Codes Pro of 2,186 British parents has revealed two thirds of them admit to believing in the concept of smacking their children, but only a third (35%) have actually used the method.

Common reasons why parents who thought smacking was effective but had chosen not to use the method were ‘I feel there are other equally effective or better methods available’ (61%) and ‘my partner does not agree with smacking’ (57%).

And it seems more than half (51%) were ‘worried about what people would think’ if they smacked their child.

The most popular forms of discipline used by parents is the naughty step, followed by being sent to their rooms and the increasingly popular putting children on a tech ban.

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