We advise that children should not be smacked as evidence shows that smacking has no benefit to the child and may be counterproductive and harmful.

In England and Wales the law allows children to be smacked. The law permits parents and carers (with the permission of the parents, excluding foster carers, schools and nurseries) to use 'reasonable chastisement'. Unfortunately, the law does not define what is reasonable or in what circumstances a child can be hit.

The City of York Safeguarding Children Board's policy position on smacking is:

The CYSCB believe it is both wrong and impracticable to seek to define acceptable forms of corporal punishment of children. Removing the defence of "reasonable chastisement" and thus giving children in their homes and in all other settings equal protection under the law on assault, is the only just, moral and safe way to clarify the law. We believe this would eliminate the current dangerous confusion over what is acceptable and provide a clearer basis for child protection.

We recognise that evidence from other countries demonstrates that legal reform, coupled with the promotion of effective means of positive discipline, works to reduce reliance on corporal punishment and reduces the need for prosecutions and other formal interventions in families. The CYSCB believes that using positive forms of discipline reduces stress and improves relationships between children, their parents and other carers.