Ask your candidates whether they would criminalise good parents, says family group
25 April 2005
Public opinion polls have consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of parents are opposed to a ban on smacking. Most parents recognise a moderate smack as an appropriate form of discipline and are strongly against politicians interfering in family life and telling them how to bring up their children.
However, many voters are unaware of the position of their local candidates on an issue which has significance for every family with children.
During the last Parliament, 114 MPs signified their support for a change in the law to make it a criminal offence for a parent to smack a naughty child, either by identifying themselves with the Children are Unbeatable alliance and/or by voting for such a law in the House of Commons.
Last autumn the government committed itself to conducting a further review of the current law on smacking within the next two years, and it is almost certain that MPs voted into Parliament on 5 May will be called on to vote for or against a total ban.
National family advocacy group, Families First, is encouraging families in all constituencies to enquire where their local candidates stand on this important issue. In particular, where sitting MPs have registered support for a legal ban on smacking, Families First is encouraging families to challenge them with regard to the consequences of their position and to consider carefully whether they can vote for a candidate who is committed to criminalising good parents.
The Families First website at www.families-first.org.uk provides details of MPs during the last Parliament who supported the imposition of a legal ban on smacking upon all parents.
Note for editors:
Families First was formed in 1993, following the successful appeal of childminder, Mrs Anne Davis, who had been removed from her local authority's childminding register after she refused to give an undertaking not to smack a child in her care with parental consent. Mrs Davis's case attracted widespread media attention and served to highlight the way in which children's rights groups were attempting to undermine parents and to impose an unproven philosophy of raising children by force of law.
For twelve years, Families First has served as a national family advocacy group, committed to supporting parents and children in the family unit. It has produced leaflets offering advice on practical parenting issues and upholds the freedom and responsibility of parents to protect and guide their children and to bring them up in a reasonable manner, according to their religious and philosophical convictions.
During the passage of the Children Bill through Parliament in 2004, Families First opposed the imposition of a legal ban on smacking since it would place children at increased risk of harm:
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