The Council of Europe is putting increasing pressure on the UK to ban all smacking and corporal punishment of children, it has been reported.
There was a ruling back in 1998 that the practice could violate children's rights against inhuman and degrading treatment - but 10 years later, the UK has still not banned smacking.
The Guardian says the Council of Europe, which oversees the European convention on human rights, is critical of the UK for this.
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, deputy secretary general of the Council of Europe, told the Guardian: "The campaign to abolish corporal punishment across the Council of Europe is gathering momentum; 20 countries have formally abolished laws allowing it in the past three years.
"The UK is one of the countries that has not yet implemented a full ban. In part, this is because the traditional parent-child relationship in the UK is one of authority [and] state intervention into family affairs is still not welcome."
She told the Guardian that the issue was about "fundamental human rights". She said: "Not only do children have the same human rights as adults, but they are more vulnerable than adults. They need more protection and not less."
Currently parents are not allowed to use "force" against children but there is not a total ban on smacking in the home and in some part-time schools and religious schools.
There have been a number of studies showing links between smacking and aggressive behaviour in children.
A report was published last month by Sir Roger Singleton, the government's independent adviser on child safety, recommending that smacking should be banned in all places outside the home.
But it did not go as far as recommending a change in the law for parents - partly because it would be so difficult to enforce.
What do you think? Should there be a total ban on smacking?
Source: The Guardian