No smacking ban debate in Wales before election

The Welsh Government has said it will not seek to ban smacking before the next Assembly elections in 2016.

Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said there was no manifesto pledge for such a move.

Andrews added that the Government did not think the legislation currently being considered on domestic abuse was the right place to include a ban on parents smacking their children.

Questioned

He said he was “very clear” that the Government does “not have a manifesto commitment in this area to do this”.

He also said the notion of a ban on smacking is “an issue more appropriate to manifestos in the elections of 2016”.

Andrews was being questioned on the issue by the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee.

Obvious difference

In February, Assembly members rejected a bid to get rid of the “reasonable punishment” defence, by 39 votes to 14.

Assembly Members (AMs) from the Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties voted against a ban.

Conservative AM Darren Millar said there was “an obvious difference between discipline and abuse”.

Reasonable

Later in the year a poll carried out by YouGov found just 19 per cent said they favoured a ban and a further 13 per cent said they didn’t know.

North Wales Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach said at the time: “The law already prevents ‘unreasonable chastisement’, meaning that those who go beyond reasonable punishment commit a criminal offence”.

She added: “Violence against children that crosses what is reasonable should be criminalised.

Good parenting

“However, there are occasions when smacking is needed in the tools of good parenting. This includes use of the ‘naughty step’ and other means.

“However, a child stepping out into the road in the path of oncoming traffic may need the message reinforced in a way which helps them to understand the consequences of their actions.”

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