Make provision about the physical punishment of children.
Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
(1) For the purposes of this Act—
“child” means a person who had not, at the time the thing was done,
attained the age of sixteen years;
“a child care provider” means—
(a) a child minder as defined by section 79A of the Children Act
(b) a daycare provider as defined by section 79A of the Children
(c) a nanny, or
(d) an au pair;
“an au pair” is a young single person from a Member State of the
European Union (or from such other country as the Secretary of State
may by order prescribe) studying English in the United Kingdom
whose accommodation is provided in a family home and who provides
help in the home for a maximum of five hours a day; and
“a nanny” is a person employed to care for a child wholly or mainly in the
home of the person employing him.
2 Physical punishment of children
(1) Where a person claims that something done to a child was a physical
punishment carried out in exercise of a parental right or of a right derived from
having charge or care of the child, then in determining any question as to
whether what was done was, by virtue of being in such exercise, a justifiable
assault a court must have regard to the following factors—
(a) the nature of what was done, the reason for it and the circumstances in
which it took place;
(b) its duration and frequency;
(c) any effect (whether physical or mental) which it has been shown to
have had on the child;
(d) the child’s age; and
(e) the child's personal characteristics (including, without prejudice to the
generality of this paragraph, sex and state of health) at the time the
thing was done.
(2) The court may also have regard to such other factors as it considers appropriate
in the circumstances of the case.
(3) If what was done included or consisted of—
(a) a blow to the head;
(b) shaking; or
(c) the use of an implement,
the court must determine that it was not something which, by virtue of being
in exercise of a parental right or of a right derived as is mentioned in subsection
(1), was a justifiable assault; but this subsection is without prejudice to the
power of the court so to determine on whatever other grounds it thinks fit.
3 Punishment of children by child care providers
(1) No child care provider may administer or threaten to administer any form of
corporal punishment to a child in his care.
(2) Any child care provider who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) is
guilty of an offence and is liable—
(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment to a term not exceeding
five years or to a fine, or to both;
(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six
months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both.
4 Short title, commencement and extent
(1) This Act may be cited as the Physical Punishment of Children Act 2003.
(2) This Act shall come into force six months after it has received the Royal Assent.
(3) This Act extends to England and Wales only.
Physical Punishment of Children (Prohibition) Bill
To make provision about the physical punishment of children.
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Ordered by The House of Commons
to be Printed, 4th July 2003.
© Parliamentary copyright House of Commons 2003
Applications for reproduction should be made in writing to the Copyright Unit,
Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, St. Clements House, 2-16 Colegate, Norwich, NR3 1BQ
PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF THE House of Commons
LONDON: THE STATIONERY OFFICE
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