05 July 2004
Methodist Church urges Lords to give children equal protection
The Methodist Church supports the amendment to the Children Bill, due to be voted on today in the House of Lords. The amendment will make it impossible for a parent to defend themselves against a charge of assault by claiming it was 'reasonable chastisement'.
The Methodist Church backs the 'Children are unbeatable!' alliance, which is campaigning to scrap the 1860 legal defence of 'reasonable chastisement' in order to give children the same protection from assault in the home as adults.
Steve Pearce, Mission Education Secretary (Children), and the Methodist signatory on a recent 'Children are unbeatable!' open letter to Education Secretary Charles Clarke, said: "Overturning the archaic defence of 'reasonable chastisement' will send out a clear message that violence has no place in caring and loving parenting. Christians have a particular concern to speak out for weaker groups, and for people who are subjected to violence. The Methodist Church is committed to playing its part in promoting and mobilising resources and support which helps parents develop non-violent ways of discipline."
The Methodist Church's support for the Children are unbeatable! campaign has included developing and promoting publications for parents, lobbying government, and working with all the churches involved in the national campaign, including the Roman Catholic, Church of England and United Reformed Church.