Campaigners have slammed the Welsh Children’s Minister for throwing his support behind plans to criminalise parents who smack.
The Welsh Government is still to consult on banning reasonable chastisement. But Huw Irranca-Davies has already branded it ‘unacceptable’.
The Be Reasonable campaign warned that outlawing smacking would see parents handed a criminal record for lovingly disciplining their children.
‘Criminalise ordinary parents’
Responding to the Children’s minister’s comments, spokesmum for Be Reasonable Lowri Turner said there is “nothing progressive” about pushing on with “punitive legislation that we know will criminalise ordinary parents”.
“Those calling for this change continue to use hysterical and manipulative language. They try to make out that a gentle smack on the back of the legs from a loving mum is the same as beating up your kids. They are being disingenuous because it is not.”
She added: “We urge all assembly members to listen to their constituents, to listen to the results of the consultation and explore ways of supporting them, rather than criminalising them.”
Last summer, Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones indicated his intention to change the law and a consultation on the issue is due to take place in January 2018.
The NSPCC supports the proposals to outlaw reasonable chastisement, claiming that it is “draconian”.
But Independent AM Nathan Gill questioned how a ban would be regulated: “I do not want any government to criminalise parenting and move one step closer to controlling every aspect of our lives.”
Dr Ashley Frawley, senior lecturer in social policy at Swansea University, believes that Welsh legislators are treating parents as “morally suspect”.
In an exclusive interview with The Christian Institute earlier this month, Dr Frawley, a vocal campaigner for the Be Reasonable campaign, set out her personal and her academic motivation for fighting proposals to ban smacking.
The law in Wales currently allows for the statutory defence of reasonable chastisement for parents who smack their children.
But as well as Welsh families, a change would likely affect the millions of tourists from England and the rest of the world who visit the country each year.
In Scotland, the Government has said it will ensure a Bill to criminalise parents who smack their children will become law.