About the Children Are Unbeatable! Alliance

We believe that the traditional defence of “reasonable punishment” works against the aims which we and the Government of a modern UK share: the encouragement of positive parental discipline in all families, and assurance of effective child protection in the few cases where it is needed.


We believe it is both wrong and impracticable to seek to define acceptable forms of corporal punishment of children. Such an exercise is unjust. Hitting children is a lesson in bad behaviour. Removing the defence of “reasonable punishment” and thus giving children in their homes and in all other settings equal protection under the law on assault is the only just, moral and safe way to clarify the law. While technically this would criminalise any assault of a child, trivial assaults, like trivial assaults between adults, would not be prosecuted. There already exist adequate means to prevent unwarranted or unhelpful prosecutions. It would on the other hand ease prosecution in serious cases. It would eliminate the current dangerous confusion over what is acceptable and provide a clear basis for child protection.


There is plenty of evidence from other countries to show that full legal reform, coupled with the promotion of effective means of positive discipline, works rapidly to reduce reliance on corporal punishment and reduces the need for prosecutions and other formal interventions in families. Using positive forms of discipline reduces stress and improves relationships between children, their parents and other carers.


In this section

Recent news

Report calls for prohibition in Scotland

Date: December 2015

A systematic review of research literature on physical punishment, jointly commissioned by Barnardo’s Scotland, Children 1st, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland and NSPCC Scotland was published in November

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Corporal punishment to be banned in madrassas

Date: December 2015

On November 27 the Government published plans to prohibit corporal punishment in all part-time educational settings, including madrassas (see: consultation). The proposals also aim to prevent children being “radicalised” in madrassas...

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