The AEP’s motion at the TUC this week calling for a full ban on corporal punishment and attracted wide media interest
The AEP this week tabled a motion at the TUC calling for a full ban on corporal punishment, saying that smacking is harmful to children’s mental health. The initiative generated a major national debate, with coverage on tv, radio and in newspapers, highlighting the AEPs position. AEP General Secretary, Kate Fallon, appeared on BBC Breakfast, live from their studios in Salford, to discuss the issue, https://www.dropbox.com/s/6doqx782r1ytsud/Kate%20Fallon%20BBC%20Breakfast.mov?dl=0 and John Drewicz, who proposed the motion at the TUC on behalf of the AEP, appeared in a debate on Sky https://youtu.be/mRlfMf7EPAw.
There was also coverage on This Morning on ITV, the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC 2, Radio 5 live, in the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Independent and many othershttps://coveragebook.com/b/6b62d606
Corporal punishment, which was initially banned in state schools in 1986, with a full ban in place in all schools in all parts of the UK by 2003, is still allowed in the home. A parent, or caregiver, can smack or otherwise physically hurt a child within the law as it currently stands if the punishment is “reasonable”.
Research shows that in situations where force is used, there are changes in brain activity that lead to an escalation in the degree of force used. This is consistent with a survey of parents where 2 in 5 of those who admitted to smacking a child, said they had used a greater degree of force than they intended.
The Association of Educational Psychologists told the TUC, and said in media interviews, that smacking is harmful to a child’s mental health, it models aggressive behaviour and it says to them that it is ok to use violence. Corporal punishment leads to a lower quality of the parent and child relationship, poorer mental health in childhood and adulthood, higher levels of aggression and anti-social behaviour and an increased risk of being a victim of physical abuse. We believe that there are many other more effective ways of teaching children right from wrong than by hitting them.
Sixty countries already have full bans, including Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Germany and Portugal, and it is time to make violence against children illegal in the UK in all settings, including the home. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was signed by the UK in 1990, and requires the prohibition of all corporal punishment in all settings. There are welcome initiatives in Scotland and Wales to ban corporal punishment and the AEP will continue to campaign for it to be banned in the whole of the UK.
The issue of corporal punishment has attracted wide ranging media interest – examples can be accessed here https://coveragebook.com/b/6b62d606