‘Welsh smacking ban would criminalise most parents’

Smacking should not be banned in Wales because the vast majority of parents would be turned into criminals, a columnist has warned.

Writing for Wales Online Laura Kemp, herself a mother, said smacking a child “is very different to a child being beaten, which the law already quite rightly classifies as abuse and punishes upon conviction”.

This comes as the Welsh Assembly yesterday voted in favour of setting up a cross-party committee to look into making smacking illegal.

Public cost

Kemp commented that changing the law would not be worth “the huge public cost”, or the “inevitable investigations into harassed mums who are caught slapping their children’s hands when they get too close to the oven”.

She referred to a YouGov poll from earlier this year which found that 69 per cent of the public oppose banning smacking in Wales.

She cautioned: “If we cannot see the hues of this argument, then we will end up criminalising all sorts of parenting which are not perfect.

Rejected

“And where would you draw the line? Child obesity is viewed by some as abuse yet you cannot nick a dad taking his kids to McDonald’s”, Kemp added.

Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews has already said that the Welsh Government will not seek to ban smacking before the next Assembly elections in 2016.

In February, Assembly members rejected a bid to ban smacking by 39 votes to 14.

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