Policy paper

Review of section 58 of the Children's Act 2004

This publication was published under the 2005 to 2010 Labour government

This document reviews the practical consequences of section 58 and seek parents’ views on smacking.



Section 58 of the Children Act 2004 limited the use of the defence of reasonable punishment so that it could no longer be used when people are charged with offences against a child, such as causing actual bodily harm or cruelty to a child.

For this review, the government carried out a consultation, parental survey, children and young people’s survey and sought additional supporting evidence.