Chastising a child - the legal position

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Abstract

Chastisement of children can take many forms, some of which could be offences under law. If the child was afraid of a physical attack because the parent was shouting at them, this could constitute an assault. A parent or other adult could face a charge of battery for physically striking a child. Under English law, reasonable chastisement is a defence available to a parent who may face legal prosecution for the action they take against their child. This article reviews the nature of chastisement and the current legal situation using relevant cases and related legislation. At present, a parent is entitled under English law to chastise their child; this includes smacking them where doing so leaves no mark on the child.

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