The law says that some people who look after children can hurt children to punish them.
If an adult hits another adult, or a young person hits an adult, that’s a crime whether it causes any injury or not.
But if a parent hits a child, the parent can say it was "reasonable punishment". Unless the hitting is quite serious (if it causes actual bodily harmThis is a legal term for hurting someone. A court can decide if a person has caused somebody "actual bodily harm".), that stops it being a crime.
So children have less protection under the law than adults.
People who can use the reasonable punishment defenceIf an adult is taken to court for hurting a child, they can say they only did it to punish the child. Unless the child is hurt quite badly, this defence stops it being a crime. are: parents, other family members, babysitters and some other people who look after children.
People who work in schools, in children’s homes, and most foster carers are not allowed to hurt children and cannot use this defence.
Children are Unbeatable! want to stop adults being allowed to
use this defence. Read about why we think the law should change.
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