Summary of necessary legal reform to achieve full prohibition

Corporal punishment is prohibited in all settings in Scotland and Wales. Prohibition is still to be achieved in the home, some alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions in England and Northern Ireland.

Legal defences for the use of corporal punishment are found in section 58 of the Children Act 2004 in England and article 2 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006. These provisions must be explicitly repealed and prohibition enacted of all corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, in the home and all other settings where adults have authority over children.

Alternative care settings – Corporal punishment is prohibited by law in residential care institutions and in foster care arranged by local authorities and by voluntary organisations. Prohibition should now be enacted in relation to private foster care.

Day care – Corporal punishment is prohibited by law in day care institutions and childminding in England, Wales and Scotland. Legislation should be adopted prohibiting corporal punishment in institutions and childminding in Northern Ireland.

Schools – Corporal punishment is prohibited in all state and private schools, but it has yet to be enacted in relation to some unregistered independent settings providing part-time education.

Penal institutions – While corporal punishment is regarded as unlawful, the use of force (in the guise of physical restraint) is lawful in maintaining order and discipline in secure training centres. The Rules authorising this should be repealed.


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