Wales

Calls for smacking ban in Wales backed by Archbishop

A man about to strike a child Image copyright Thinkstock

Calls to introduce a ban on smacking children in Wales have been backed by the nation's archbishop.

Earlier this year, Assembly Members (AMs) voted against plans to make it illegal for parents to hit their children.

The law, as it stands, gives adults the right to strike someone smaller than them - provided it is deemed "reasonable punishment".

Dr Barry Morgan said it should be "unacceptable" to hit children.

The archbishop said he was lending his support to the Children's Commissioner for Wales, Prof Sally Holland, who is campaigning for a change in the law.

He said: "Just as it unacceptable to hit another adult, so it should be unacceptable to smack a child - more so, in fact, because a child is more vulnerable.

"That does not mean anything goes, as far as bringing up children is concerned - but it does rule out physical punishment."

His comments came on Universal Children's Day.

Image caption Prof Sally Holland said 'positive parenting' needed to be promoted

Prof Holland said a culture of "positive parenting" needed to be promoted in Wales.

"Some argue that we should educate rather than change the law, however, the evidence from other countries tells us that we need both," she added.

"Any attempt to promote positive parenting is undermined by the current position in law."

'Good arguments'

Speaking during an assembly debate in March, Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews acknowledged there were "good arguments" for ending the defence of reasonable punishment.

However, he told AMs: "The government has been clear this bill is not the right place to address this issue and we remain strongly of that view".

An amendment to the Bill, which was tabled by a Labour AM, later lost by 36 votes to 16.

The Welsh government has since ruled out any change to the law before next year's assembly elections.

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