Campaigners welcome Westminster’s rejection of smacking ban

Campaigners have welcomed as “sensible” the UK Government’s rejection of calls to criminalise parents who reasonably chastise their children.

Be Reasonable, which fought unsuccessfully against the smacking ban in Wales, hopes the announcement will discourage further attempts to change the law in England.

They called for an evaluation of the “dangerous experiment” by the administration in Cardiff, including the impact on the 55 parents who were caught by the ban in its first six months.


Despite claims that a ban on smacking would not criminalise parents, evidence from other countries suggests otherwise.

A smacking ban in New Zealand has led to hundreds of parents being arrested, prosecuted or separated from their children, according to an investigation by public law specialists Chen Palmer.

Simon Calvert, a spokesman for the Be Reasonable campaign, commented: “In Wales, the administration was all over the place on smacking as they tried to sell the policy to a highly sceptical public.”


Mr Calvert said: “The former First Minister, Carwen Jones, even said in a public meeting that he smacked his own children. In the Welsh Parliament the then Children’s Minister admitted that a parent picking up their toddler because they were having a tantrum in a shop would be breaking the law if the reasonable chastisement defence were repealed.

“This made a mockery of the Welsh administration’s repeated claim that the legislation would not criminalise loving parents. Their own impact assessment said the price tag for the ban could top £7.8 million, including nearly a million (£964K) for extra policing. This figure did not include the cost to social services and the family courts, which they admitted was unknown.

“This is why we welcome this sensible decision by the Government in Westminster to reject these ideologically-driven calls to scrap reasonable chastisement.” He added: “We all want children to be safe and well cared for. But we need solutions that work and which support hard-pressed parents instead of criminalising them.”

Also see:

Welsh Govt throws millions at ‘pernicious’ smacking ban

Shadow Health Secretary: ‘Smacking is not immoral’

Education Secretary rejects call for smacking ban in England