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Child-smacking ban not needed, says minister

CHILDREN'S Minister Frances Fitzgerald has no intention of changing the law to ban the slapping of children.

She maintains it is not necessary because there has been a sea-change in how parents discipline their children.

It came after a children's charity called for smacking of youngsters to be made illegal.

A spokeswoman for Ms Fitzgerald said the 'Growing Up In Ireland' study had shown that corporal punishment at home was now "relatively rare" with just 11pc of mothers smacking their children.

As it stands, parents, legal caregivers, childminders and foster parents have the right to punish children physically under the common law defence of "reasonable chastisement".

Children's Rights Alliance chief executive Tanya Ward said the law was unacceptable because all forms of violence against children were wrong.

But there are divided attitudes in society. A government-commissioned survey found that 42pc of people believed it should be made illegal. But 34pc said slapping should be allowed and another 24pc said it should depend on the age of the child.

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