Myth:loving parents will be criminalised

If the Bill becomes law it will make all use of force for correction illegal, thereby placing children in the same legal situation as adults with regard to assault.  All assaults between adults are illegal, but minor assaults do not usually get prosecuted.  While a smack or a hit will technically be an assault, if the Bill becomes law the police have very sensible prosecution guidelines influencing their discretion on what type of behaviour they will prosecute.

The police consistently say that while they will have to investigate any complaints of assault on a child they can use discretion in deciding when to prosecute.

Likewise the Children and Young Persons Service (the other organisation to which someone may complain about ill-treatment of a child) made it very clear in their submission to the Select Committee that their practice would not change if section 59 is repealed and that the guiding principle "of minimal intervention in family life to ensure the safety of a child" will remain.

The new Bill has provisions that provide protection for parents who, for example, use "time out" or find it necessary to restrain their child to keep them safe or administer normal care.