Children: Corporal Punishment

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd July 2015.

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Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the judgment in Re A [2015] EWHC 1598 (Fam), in particular the judge's remarks that cultural context must be considered in such cases.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The law states that it is illegal to assault a child. A parent or guardian hitting their child could be prosecuted for assault, but there is a defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ that they may use in cases where they have given a child a mild smack. If physical chastisement results in injury to a child, including bruises, cuts or scratches, it can be charged as actual bodily harm or a more serious offence, for which the ‘reasonable chastisement’ defence cannot be used.

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