Criminalising parents who smack children set to cost millions

Politicians in Wales have admitted that their plans to criminalise parents who smack their children will cost millions of pounds.

This week, the official consultation on the smacking Bill revealed high levels of public opposition.

But in its new report, most Assembly Members on the Children, Young People and Education Committee say they still want the ban to come into force.

‘Unknown’

Within the report, it is estimated that the Bill would cost between £2.3million and £3.7m. However, that does not include a variety of additional costs to social services or the family courts.

Sally Jenkins, former Chairwoman of the All Wales Heads of Children’s Services said the “unknown costs” were a challenge, while another expert called them “problematic”.

Polling consistently shows that the majority of people in Wales don’t want a law which could criminalise parents who choose to use light physical discipline.

Be Reasonable

Public Health Wales also noted that a ban on smacking could be “disproportionately applied to families from more socially disadvantaged groups”.

Out of touch

The UK Ministry of Justice has also raised “serious concerns” about how a ban would affect divorcing parents.

disproportionately applied to families from more socially disadvantaged groups

Public Health Wales

“Following the change, it would be easy for an allegation of smacking to be made which may lead to the involvement of the police and a concurrent criminal investigation”, it said.

Be Reasonable, a grassroots campaign group opposed to the ban, said the determination to press ahead with the legislation shows that politicians are out of touch with the public.

“Polling consistently shows that the majority of people in Wales don’t want a law which could criminalise parents who choose to use light physical discipline.”

Opposition

Earlier this week, in results independently analysed by the Office for National Statistics, 67.8 per cent of individuals said they opposed a smacking ban.

There were 650 responses to the Government consultation, with 390 expressing opposition to the proposed legislation.

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