The Welsh Government is “playing with fire” over plans to ban parental smacking, a spokesman for the group leading opposition to the move has said.
The Be Reasonable campaign was giving evidence before the Welsh Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee.
The Welsh Government plans to remove the parental defence of “reasonable chastisement” from law.
“The ramifications of this Bill are massive for the Welsh public and the Government’s playing with fire if it thinks it can make this change in the law and not affect the lives of parents and by extension children”, Jamie Gillies said.
He told Assembly Members that the law already provides strong protections for children and is clear as it stands.
He reminded them that: “Article 19 of Convention on the Rights of the Child states children should be protected from all forms of violence. We would absolutely agree with that, but reasonable chastisement is not violence.”
A mum-of-four, who was also appearing before the Committee, described the idea that children should be treated similarly to adults in law as “illogical”.
Sally Gobbett said: “There are all sorts of things that we do to children routinely which would be criminal to do to an adult.”
“If I was to take their iPad off them that would be theft. It’s common sense. It’s illogical to say that we have to apply the law in exactly the same way to children as we do to adults.”
She concluded: “Parents know their children best, they know their family dynamic best, they need to be respected to make those choices.”
ComRes polling shows that 76 per cent of Welsh adults say smacking should not be a criminal offence.
And 85 per cent of respondents to the poll said they were smacked as a child, while 68 per cent agreed it is sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child.