Parents face smacking ban under Welsh parties’ plans

Loving parents would be banned from giving their own children an occasional smack under manifesto pledges put forward by Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour.

Currently parents in England and Wales are allowed to ‘reasonably chastise’ their children.

In March last year the Welsh Assembly rejected an attempt to remove this freedom by 36 votes to 16.

Party politics

Now, in the run-up to elections on 5 May, Plaid Cymru says it wants to “introduce legislation to remove the defence of reasonable chastisement”.

And Welsh Labour says it will: “Seek cross party support for legislation to end” the reasonable chastisement smacking defence.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has previously spoken in favour of banning smacking.

Of the 13 Welsh Conservative Assembly Members last year, twelve voted against a smacking ban, while one did not vote. UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall criticised the idea of a smacking ban in 2013.

Lack of understanding

A YouGov poll in 2014 found that 69 per cent of the public oppose banning smacking in Wales.

In February a pro-family campaign group in New Zealand highlighted the dangers of banning smacking.

Family First said: “Anti-smacking laws assume that previous generations disciplined their children in a manner that was so harmful that they would now be considered criminals.

“This undermines the confidence of parents in disciplining their children, fails to understand the special relationship and functioning of families, and has communicated to some children that they are now in the ‘driving seat’.”

New Zealand brought in a ban on smacking children in 2007 but in a 2009 referendum, 87 per cent of the population voted against it. However, the Government chose not to change its approach.

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