Yes. The child is, after all, a priority, and like you said, her needs and safety are the most important. SS will probably talk to them about smacking (like you I personally disagree) and depending on why they smack her, they might give some coping tips (if its to do with the girl winding them up for instance) or other ways of disciplining, reasons why smacking might be bad, better ways of disciplining, and asking about other things relating to discipline to make sure they aren't being extreme, and are using it 'moderately'.
You told the truth, SS will probably deal with it well and by assisting the grandparents by suggesting and advising other forms of discipline, and they will probably benefit.
Some dear friends of mine are bringing up their granddaughter who is aged ten. The child's parents are unable to look after her and the grandparents have a residency order (I think that's what it's called). Basically, the little girl was physically and emotionally abused by her mother and her father has severe Asperger's Syndrome and can't really look after himself let alone a child. It's very sad.
The grandparents have applied to be Special Guardians to the child. This means that they will have parental rights for her. My dh and I have also offered to be Special Guardians if the grandparents are unable to look after her in the future.
Yesterday, a Social Worker visited me to interview me as I am acting as a referee for the grandparents. She asked me lots of very detailed questions and I was asked whether I had any reservations about the grandparents' ability to care for the little girl.
I told her my only reservations are (1) the grandfather doesn't drive very well and, in fact, nearly ran my son and me over some time back. Basically, he is old and his driving isn't what it once was. My second concern was that the grandmother told me that she smacks the little girl.
Whatever my own feelings about smacking (I personally don't agree with it), I know that SS do not think it acceptable. I felt I had to tell the SW because I had to be honest. Also, if my friend (the Grandmother) told someone else about the smacking that person might call SS and then that would cause problems.
Basically, the SW and I agreed that it is an issue that the older generation think is acceptable and that this is why the grandma uses smacking as a method of discipline. The SW said that my information wouldn't change the decisions made about the child's future but that the grandparents would be interviewed about discipline at a future date.
Do you think I did the right thing? It's been bothering me all day. The child's needs and safety, it goes without saying, are my first priority.