Smacking ban opposed by majority of public

Proposals to ban smacking in Wales have very little public support, a new poll has revealed.

A YouGov poll found that almost seven in ten people opposed a ban on parents smacking their children.

Just 19 per cent said they favoured a ban and a further 13 per cent said they didn’t know.

Rejected

This latest poll will present yet another blow to supporters of the ban.

Recent calls to ban smacking have been rejected by the Welsh Government, but they are expected to reconsider the proposals before the 2016 election.

Opponents of a ban on smacking say such a move would criminalise loving parents simply seeking to discipline their children.

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

Parents

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

“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.

Safeguards

“As I said in the debate, I smacked my daughter when she sought to put my house keys into a plug socket. I believe that this was a way of making her understand how serious the situation was, without her having a massive electric shock.

She added: “I understand why those who have experienced a violent childhood may wish to see a ban, however the law already provides enough safeguards for children where parents overstep the line.”

In March the Welsh Government rejected a call by a group of Welsh academics for a swift ban on parents smacking their children.

Examine

The academics said the prohibition should be enforced quickly, and that only a small change would be needed.

But the Government said “extensive consultation” would be required before any such move is made.

In February an amendment to ban smacking was rejected by Welsh Assembly Members, as they debated the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill.

At the time Deputy Minister Gwenda Thomas signalled there would be opportunities to “examine this issue” before the 2016 election.

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