Several countries in Europe have banned spanking, but one of the few holdouts is Britain, which already has put a stop to teachers and other caregiver's spanking other people's kids, but says it's OK for parents to practice "mild smacking." Now, the rest of Europe is pressuring Britain to adopt a full ban on spanking because -- (...wait for it...) -- it violates a child's human rights.
The UK will come under increasing pressure to ban all smacking and corporal punishment of children as the European human rights body steps up pressure for a change in the law. The Council of Europe – which monitors compliance with the European convention on human rights – will criticise the UK because it has not banned smacking more than 10 years after a ruling in 1998 that the practice could violate children's rights against inhuman and degrading treatment. "The campaign to abolish corporal punishment across the Council of Europe is gathering momentum; 20 countries have formally abolished laws allowing it in the past three years," said Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, deputy secretary general of the Council of Europe. "The UK is one of the countries that has not yet implemented a full ban. In part, this is because the traditional parent-child relationship in the UK is one of authority [and] state intervention into family affairs is still not welcome," she added. We are talking about fundamental human rights," she said. "Not only do children have the same human rights as adults, but they are more vulnerable than adults. They need more protection and not less." Current law prohibits the use of force against children, but gives adults in the home and in some part-time schools and religious institutions a defence to the charge of assault in cases of mild force where they can show the punishment was reasonable.