YOUNG PEOPLE'S RIGHTS: Campaign for new law on punishment

| 22 January 2003

Support from youth work professionals will be crucial in a campaign to persuade the Government to modernise the law to give children the same protection from being hit as adults.

The Children are Unbeatable! Alliance organised a conference on 15 January in London. More than 350 organisations, including the NSPCC, the National Youth Agency and Save the Children, are backing the campaign.

The alliance is calling for the legal defence of "reasonable chastisement", in place since 1860, to be scrapped, while convincing parents that reform would not punish them for minor incidents of physical punishment. Campaigners say the defence of "reasonable chastisement" lets harsh and frequent punishment go on legally and largely unchecked.

NSPCC campaigns adviser Tony Samphier said: "Engaging with youth workers and others that work with young people is a priority. We want to make the campaign more grassroots. The alliance is very concerned that the campaign needs to be grown and rebuilt."

NSPCC director Mary Marsh added: "The positive experience of other countries is that law reform brings about greater reporting of cruel behaviour, but ordinary parents are not landed in the courts for minor incidents.

We urge the Government to modernise the law."

To find out more about the campaign, visit

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