http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6757041.stm Laws under which parents in England and Wales face jail for smacking children so hard they leave a mark are to be reviewed, the government has said. Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said parents would be asked whether smacking should be banned outright. Restrictions were toughened in 2004 to stop parents and carers who assaulted children from using "reasonable punishment" as a defence, but moves to ban any hitting of youngsters outright were rejected. Public debate Under the law, which came into force in January 2005, mild smacking is allowed but any punishment which causes visible bruising, grazes, scratches, minor swellings or cuts can face action. The then children's minister Margaret Hodge promised MPs that the law, which sparked considerable public debate, would be reviewed to see how it was working. The current minister Ms Hughes said it was clear that violence against a child was illegal. "Parliament did not go as far as to ban all smacking because it didn't want to see decent parents criminalised. "We have no reason to believe that the current law needs to be changed. However, in 2004 we made a proper commitment to examine the practical consequences of the changes to the legislation and this consultation is fulfilling that commitment. "We also said we would be separately seeking parents' views on physical punishment and this will done through a parental survey." 'Meddling' Children's charity the NSPCC says the law is flawed and has called for a total ban on smacking. Last month Britain's four child commissioners called for a total ban, insisting there was "no room for compromise" on the issue. Campaign group 11 Million, headed by England's Children's Commissioner, Al Aynsley-Green, said it recognised that parenting was sometimes a difficult job and there was a need for help in finding positive and effective forms of discipline. But chief executive Rob Williams said: "Fear and intimidation can never be a positive part of childhood. "Children are rightly protected from assault in school and other settings. "It is time for the law to protect them from violence at home where, of all places, they should expect to feel safe and secure." But shadow children's minister, Tim Loughton, said: "Even though this issue was debated barely three ago, Labour ministers cannot resist meddling in how parents look after their children. "Bringing up children is a big enough challenge already without opening up this can of worms, which is all about nanny state rather than trusting parents to bring up their children as they see fit." Thoughts, anyone?