"It's not ok to lose the head and strike a child" - Children's Rights Alliance

Slapping is now a criminal offence, but advocates say the key change is that children now recognised as equal

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File photo: Independent Senator Jillian van Turnhout. Photo /Photocall Ireland

A leading children's advocate is welcoming new measures banning the slapping of children.

The move came into effect at midnight.

Yesterday the Minister for Children Dr James Reilly signed a commencement order which will see the "reasonable chastisement" defence abolished.

Human rights groups have been calling for slapping to be banned for months - Senator Jillian Van Turnhout says hitting a child is never effective parenting;

"Would it be ok for me to hit you, or anybody else out there? It is not ok to hit another adult, so why is it ok to hit somebody who is smaller than you, more vulnerable than you, and who most likely has not idea why you are hitting them. It is not acceptable. We know that positive parenting methods are much more effective, and that's what I would recommend parents to do."

With these new measures in place, questions have been raised as to how they will be enforced. 

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Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children's Rights Alliance spoke to Newstalk Breakfast on the outlawing of smacking: