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Children Act 2004 (Section 58 Review)

Volume 461: debated on Friday 15 June 2007

The Government are today commencing a review of section 58 of the Children Act 2004, which limits the availability of the “reasonable punishment” defence in cases involving alleged assaults by parents on their children. There will be two main elements to the review. First, the review will seek parents' views on physical punishment through a parental opinion survey which will be undertaken this summer. Secondly, the review is consulting those working with children and families and parents' organisations to gain views and evidence from professionals and practitioners on the practical effects and working of section 58. This consultation is being published today on the Department for Education and Skills website. The findings from the parental survey, as well as responses and evidence submitted during the consultation will inform the outcome of the review and a review report will be laid before Parliament in the autumn. There are no current plans to change the legislation.

The review is being undertaken in line with the commitment made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Margaret Hodge) during the passage of the Children Bill to review the section's practical effects two years after it came into effect and also to seek parents' views about physical punishment.

Copies of the consultation have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.