Sign up local councillors and Members of the European Parliament
Alongside Members of Parliament and Local Safeguarding Children Boards, it helps to get the support of elected representatives at all levels. Click here and simply enter your post-code to discover who you councillors are (district and/or county or unitary) and who your MEPs are. Click here to check if they have already signed up to the aims of CAU!
If they are not yet supporters, ask them to sign up (by letter, email or in person):
Explain that you are a constituent and that you are a supporter of the Children Are Unbeatable! Alliance, the broadest campaign coalition ever assembled on a children’s issue, bringing together more than  organisations and many more individuals.
Explain that the campaign for equal protection is a cross-party one. Summarise your case for outlawing physical punishment. For example:
- that children are the smallest and most fragile of citizens yet the current law on assault gives them less protection than adults,
- that physical punishment undermines efforts to promote effective parenting, and hinders child protection and domestic violence prevention,
- that the UK is in breach of its obligations under important human rights agreements such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Social Charter,
- that most European countries have already taken this step, with no adverse consequences.
Include any personal experiences you have had as an adult or as a child which can illustrate your arguments. If you are a parent, say so.
Attach or print out and give them this form for him or her to sign.
Get a local group to sign up
If you are involved in any of the following types of local organisation, please try to get them to support the Alliance:
- Faith groups
- Trade union branches
- Youth groups
- Local political party organisations
- Women’s groups
- Student unions
- Parent groups
- Community associations
- Professional networks
- Business groups
- Local councils
- Other campaign groups
If it is the sort of organisation that conducts formal meetings, here is a model resolution you can table for discussion. Even if you fail to persuade the organisation to sign up, this will be a valuable exercise. The more the smacking issue is debated, the more people come round to seeing that banning it is the right thing to do. See campaign materials for other resources you can use or distribute.
Include the issue of physical punishment when you respond to Government consultations and official inquiries
The Government frequently consults on new policy which offers obvious opportunities to recommend the low-cost and effective measure of banning physical punishment. But because the issue isn’t raised by the Government supporters tend to forget to include it. The fact that the Government doesn’t want to talk about physical punishment is no reason for you not to!
The current Government consultations can be found at:
Department for Education – responsible for children’s services, child protection, education, family policy, child participation, early years, children with disabilities and children’s welfare.
Department for Communities and Local Government – cross-government work on troubled families and urban regeneration
Department of Health – improving health and well-being, including public health, children’s health and mental health
Home Office – prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour including domestic violence and violence against women and girls, equality,
Ministry of Justice – criminal law, human rights and civil liberties
For information on the human rights’ imperative, the positive experience of countries that have banned smacking, the risks of physical punishment, the connection to child safeguarding and domestic violence and other relevant arguments see the case for reform.
Speak out as a parent
Governments tend to rely on opinion polls which show the majority of parents are opposed to a law which outlaws smacking.
This is a campaign that requires the government to lead, not follow. All countries that have banned have done so against majority public opinion. However, parental opposition to “criminalising smacking” is often based on a misunderstanding of what this would mean in practice and in any event parents tend to have conflicted and ambiguous views about physical punishment (see parents’ views).
The Government also points to the fact that the use of physical punishment is declining in the UK and expresses the hope that it will disappear of its own accord.
Hoping that smacking will disappear while the law continues to entitle parents to smack is not supported by the evidence from other campaigns, like use of seatbelts, corporal punishment in schools or drink driving, in which a change in the law has proved to be essential. The parents who are most at risk of physically or mentally harming their children are unfortunately also the ones who are most likely to carry on using physical punishment. Playing a waiting game condemns successive generations of children to continue suffer a painful, humiliating and damaging treatment. And this is not a matter where parents’ rights are pitted against children’s rights: banning smacking improves parents’ lives as well as children’s lives.
It is extremely useful, therefore, that supporters identify themselves as parents when they call for a law to outlaw physical punishment. Having smacked children yourself does not disqualify you from joining the campaign. On the contrary, many parents who support Children Are Unbeatable! smacked their children in the past in the belief that this was appropriate parenting and now want to live in a society that has moved on from this position.
Speak out if you are under 18
Most people campaigning to outlaw the physical punishment of children are, regrettably, not children themselves.
While not all under-18 year-olds support a ban on physical punishment almost all young children, the group who are most smacked, say that they would like it stopped. But as children grow they often adopt the views of their parents and the adult world. Nonetheless polls of the general public show that the younger you are, the less likely you are to support physical punishment.
Whenever the issue is debated we encourage children to participate.
Put the issue on your website and blog
On your website or blog, please add a link to this website www.childrenareunbeatable.org.uk