A lot of people don't really understand the smacking debate, so I've come up with this neat little diagram to try and explain it.
As you can see, there are 5 sections. These represent different "force" applied to a child.
A) (Abuse) represents force outside the law - assault on a child. It is large, as there are plenty of ways to get into this category - it's sadly too easy.
B) (Borderline) represents borderline cases - cases the police or CYFS thought were assault but were dismissed by the courts. The most famous of these is the "riding crop" case. Only 7 cases fall defended under Section 59 fall into this category over the last 10 years, but there are others dismissed by the courts for other reasons. Therefore, this category is very small.
C) (Correction) represents reasonable force for correction (smacking) legal under current law. It's larger, as these events are quite common in normal parenting.
D) (Doing?) represents reasonable force for parenting - restraining a toddler from crossing a road, lifting a child into bed, putting a child down to change a nappy. These acts are all force, and all are reasonable. This space is average size, since it's not in dispute here and I will mention it only briefly.
E) (Eugh - don't kiss me grandma!) represents reasonable force used in everyday life - hugs, shaking hands, kisses etc.