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Parents should be banned from smacking children, UN tells Britain

Committee says it should be repealed and that 'non-violent forms of discipline' should be encouraged

Ian Johnson
Friday 24 July 2015 11:53 BST

The UK should ban parents from smacking their children, United Nations human rights experts have said.

In a wide-ranging report, the UN Human Rights Committee called for Britain to implement a number of measures in order to comply with international treaties, including the holding of independent investigations into murders and other human rights abuses during Northern Ireland’s Troubles and improvements to the way human rights abuses by the Armed Forces overseas are dealt with.

It also said the age of criminal responsibility – which is 10 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and eight in Scotland although children there can only be prosecuted when they reach 12 – was “not in accordance with international standards” and should be raised.

“The Committee remains concerned that corporal punishment is still not fully outlawed in the home and certain educational and alternative care facilities,” its report said.

“It is further concerned about the existing legal defences of ‘reasonable punishment’ in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or ‘justifiable assault’ in Scotland.”

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