Two thirds oppose Wales bid to criminalise smacking

Official consultation results have confirmed the strong opposition to criminalising parental smacking in Wales.

Hundreds of people and groups gave their views to the Children, Young People and Education Committee, with 60 per cent saying they did not support a proposed Bill to ban smacking.

Among individuals, the figure was even higher – at 67.8 per cent.

‘Wake-up call’

Campaign group Be Reasonable Wales, which is backed by The Christian Institute, welcomed the results.

Spokesman Jamie Gillies said: “The results of the consultation yet again confirm that this proposed change to the law, that will criminalise ordinary parents, is deeply unpopular with the Welsh public.”

“This should be a wake-up call for the Government and Assembly Members who are pursuing this legislation against the wishes of ordinary mums and dads across Wales.”

Analysis

The Office for National Statistics analysed the results which came from a consultation carried out between 2 April and 14 May 2019.

It found that there were 650 responses, with 390 expressing opposition to the proposed legislation.

Among organisations, there was heavy support for the Bill.

Investigated

If the Welsh Assembly passes the Bill to ban smacking, “reasonable chastisement” will no longer be allowed under the law.

The Christian Institute, Be Reasonable and others have warned that under such a law parents suspected of smacking would face suspension, investigation by the police and social services, and prosecution.

According to police figures, hundreds of parents in Wales could be criminalised if the ban came into force.

The Police Liaison Unit estimated there would be 274 investigations in the first year, equivalent to 1,370 potential offences in the first five years.

‘Deeply worrying’

Commenting on the police figures, one national newspaper said it seemed a “gross exaggeration” to treat a light parental smack as abuse.

The Sunday Express added: “The revelation that hundreds of parents will be criminalised and face prison sentences for being firm with their youngsters is deeply worrying.”

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