Alex's Answer

Why is it illegal to hit children?

Your Question

Hi Alex, How Are Yhu? My Question For You Is, How Or Why Is It Illegal For Physical Abuse I.E Parent Hit Child.. I Mean What Does It Do? Does It Not Teach A Child To Behave? Has No Long Term Effects? 


Hello, thanks for contacting Ask Alex with your questions today. It sounds like you’re wondering why physical abuse is illegal and what the impact of it can be. 

Physical abuse involves a person using physical force against another person which causes or could cause them harm. It can be a single incident or something that is ongoing. Some examples of physical abuse could be slapping, hitting, pinching and kicking. Deliberately hurting someone in any way using physical force is physical abuse and is not okay. Challenging behaviour by a child should not mean they are punished physically and under the Children First Act 2015, someone that disciplines their child using physical punishment cannot use this as a defence. If a child did something wrong, physical force is not an appropriate punishment. A child relies on their parents for support and protection, and any form of physical abuse takes this away and can negatively influence a child’s health and development. You can read more about abuse here: 

In Ireland, every child and young person has the right to be protected from all forms of abuse. We’re not sure if physical abuse is something you’re curious about or if there is physical abuse going on in your life. If you experience any kind of physical abuse, reach out to someone that can help you. This could be an adult you trust like a family member, a teacher or a sports coach. If ever you are in immediate danger, you can contact the emergency services on 112 or 999 for free on any mobile phone or landline. 

Childline is also always there for you. If you ever you wanted to talk to about anything that’s going on for you, we have an online chat service ( or a text service (send a text to 50101), where there will always be someone to listen to you. It is a non-judgmental, safe space where you can talk about anything that’s on your mind or that’s going on for you. All these services are available 24/7 every day of the year. 

Thanks again for reaching out to us today. 

Take care, 


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