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Hitting your child with a belt .... the law

(34 Posts)
Poppychick Sat 12-Jul-08 18:24:52

Is it illegal to hit a 6 year old with a belt? Also is classed as neglect / child abuse to another child if they witness it without it actually having happened to them?

Anyone in the know - social services etc. please reply.

davidtennantsmistress Sat 12-Jul-08 18:26:08

personally I would say yes - althou i'm not an expert, and bias as not a fan of smacking per se so can't imagine why anyone would hit their child with a belt

southeastastra Sat 12-Jul-08 18:26:36

yes it's physical abuse

cornsilk Sat 12-Jul-08 18:27:33

I would say it was physical abuse for the child hit. Perhaps emotional abuse for a child to have to watch it.

Poppychick Sat 12-Jul-08 18:28:19

Are any of you certain of this officially by any chance?

cornsilk Sat 12-Jul-08 18:29:49


southeastastra Sat 12-Jul-08 18:31:27

do child protection courses for work every year though don't work for ss

more information here

ProfessorGrammaticus Sat 12-Jul-08 18:36:35

I'm pretty sure using anything other than ahand is illegal

AuntieMaggie Sat 12-Jul-08 18:38:25

Why would you want to do that? And in front of another child?

OverMyDeadBody Sat 12-Jul-08 18:41:23

Why do you want to know Poppy?

LadyMuck Sat 12-Jul-08 18:42:35

It depends on the physical and/or mental damage to the child. The way that the law works is that any assault on a child is potentially a criminal offence. However there is a defence for parents of "reasonable chastisement". This defence can only be used in cases of common assault (not abh or gbh). And with the introduction of s58 of the Children's Act 2004 this defence can only be used where a smack or equivalent left no mark other than temporary redness.

Assuming that the belt did leave a mark, then strictly an offence has occured. However usually social services would take steps to address the behaviour rather than immediately pressing for prosecution as it would also be traumatic for a family to have a parent imprisoned.

In terms of the implications for a child watching, then it would depend on the circumstances. If the child had a fear that siilar treatment was likely to be meted out to themselves, then it could be treated as child abuse. But again usually SS would intervene to educate the parent rather than to punish.

LadyMuck Sat 12-Jul-08 18:43:16

Oh, and i'm assuming that you're in England - law is different in Scotland I think.

Miggsie Sat 12-Jul-08 18:43:18

Well, if you removed your belt and hit an adult with it, it would be classed as assault, so I don't see why it can be ok to hit a small child in the same way.

Heathcliffscathy Sat 12-Jul-08 18:44:13

piss poor that it isn't totally illegal really isn't it?

mieowcat Sat 12-Jul-08 19:12:44

illegal? borderline cruel maybe?

memoo Sat 12-Jul-08 19:15:07

i believe that it is illegal, I think that you can be prosecuted for using anything other than your hand to smack a child. though imo thats just as bad

colditz Sat 12-Jul-08 19:19:42

It is illegal to hit anyone with a belt.

The only physicality you are allowed to use on a child is an open handed slap that does not leave a mark or connect to the head. I am not getting into the morality of smacking on this thread though.

It is abuse of the child who received it, and the child who witnessed it HOWEVER I don't know how long that has been that law.

colditz Sat 12-Jul-08 19:21:44

Having received both an openhanded smack and the full force of a belt, I can confidently state that a slap is NOWHERE FUCKING NEAR as bad.

Heathcliffscathy Sat 12-Jul-08 21:57:55


colditz Sat 12-Jul-08 21:59:43

oh no no no lovely sophable, it was accidental - well, my brother and I were whirling belts around and he caught me on the back. It hurts like a bitch let me tell you, and that was with a 7 year old's arm, I cannot imagine the pain if a grown man was doing it.

KerryMum Sat 12-Jul-08 22:01:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsPickles Sat 12-Jul-08 22:02:57

Please please ring social services about this if this has happened. Hitting a 6 year old child with a belt is undoubtably physical abuse, and undoubtedly emotional abuse in relation to a child who witnessed it. I deal with similar cases as part of my job (the legal side).

nannyL Sun 13-Jul-08 11:01:58

Im sure (in 2008) it is illegal to hit anyone with a belt

Its is child abuse and social srvices need to know

Poppychick Sun 13-Jul-08 11:11:01

A child at work told me it happened to their step brother and they saw it.

Have filled in an appropriate form but worried my boss (designated CP person) isn't taking it seriously.


Poppychick Sun 13-Jul-08 11:15:19

I could find out their address and ring up SS anonymously (sp) couldn't I? As anyone could. This parent isn't at the child's home though it's like a weekend Dad situation so I wouldn't know his address.

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