On 24 April 2020 Jersey became the first place in the British Isles to introduce a new law that prohibits corporal punishment of children. Known as the “smacking ban”, the Children and Education (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 2020 abolishes the defence of reasonable chastisement that was previously available.
Until 24 April 2020, an adult in charge of a child was permitted to physically chastise that child as a form of punishment, provided such force was reasonable. From today, such an act would constitute an assault. This means that hitting, smacking, slapping or any other similar act is no longer allowed in any circumstances. This change affords children protection from such acts in much the same way as adults are already protected, perhaps even more, as there is no defence to any physical act of punishment against a child.
This ground-breaking change in the law demonstrates how important it is that the children in our society are protected. Many of us will have received a text message from the government today reminding us to be vigilant about the safety of children and reminding us of the number of the Children and Families Hub (01534 519000).