ADULTS across the West Midlands want to follow Wales and Scotland and change the law over smacking children – according to the NSPCC.
In a YouGov poll, commissioned by the charity, of 3,000 over 18s, of which 293 respondents were from the region 68 per cent thought physically disciplining a child, for example by smacking, is not acceptable.
The NSPCC say on March 21 when the “reasonable chastisement” defence is abolished in Wales, 62 per cent of people in the West Midlands who expressed an opinion said it is time to change the law in England to give children the same protection against assault as adults.
The poll also revealed a lack of clarity across England about what parents and carers currently can and cannot do when disciplining their children.
The charity said more than half in the West Midlands thought it was illegal to physically punish a child, 21 per cent did not know and only 22 per cent knew that it is still legal.
Last year there were more than 500 counselling sessions delivered by Childline to children and young people about physical punishment.
Sir Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “The NSPCC has long campaigned to remove this outdated defence and we are pleased that children in Wales, Scotland and Jersey now have equal protection from assault.
“Public attitudes to physical punishment are changing and the law needs to follow suit. Westminster now needs to follow its neighbours and tackle this legal anomaly.”
The University College of London and an international team of experts recently analysed 20 years of research on the topic.
Their conclusion was that physical punishment is ineffective and harmful and has no benefits for children and their families.
They showed it does not improve children’s behaviour and instead increases behavioural difficulties, such as aggression and anti-social behaviour.
The research also revealed that children who are the recipients of physical punishment are at increased risk of being subjected to more severe levels of violence.