There are few issues surrounding contemporary parenting more hotly debated than smacking. In recent years, a method of discipline used by the majority of parents across all cultures for generations has been stigmatised like no other. It is an issue calculated to arouse such strong emotions that the facts can easily get lost in the heat of the debate. This factsheet aims to take a calm dispassionate look at: the current law in England and Wales; the likely effects of a change in the law on parental smacking; the extent and impact of smacking bans in other parts of Europe; the findings of academic research; public opinion polls; and the implications of the evidence for public policy.
A reasonable approach to discipline
Issues to be considered in the context of the debate on parental smacking 2004,