Welsh assembly edges closer total ban on smacking children

Date: 28th October 2011
Category: Equal protection from violence

The prospect of parents being banned from smacking children in part of the UK has moved a step closer.

Members of the Welsh assembly have approved a call to withdraw the defence of "legal chastisement" that is currently available to parents.

The Welsh government believes it could introduce legislation to outlaw smacking -but has ruled out doing so before 2016.

Keith Towler, the children's commissioner for Wales, welcomed the debate, saying: "Children are the only people in the UK that can be hit without consequence. Children should be entitled to the same level of protection as adults. There's no such thing as a safe smack.

"A change in legislation will help shift attitudes and behaviour relating to assaulting children - something which can't be done while the law condones smacking. "In England and Northern Ireland the defence of "reasonable chastisement" has been removed for more serious assaults on children but is retained for the offence of common assault. In Scotland, in 2003 the law was changed to ban hitting on the head, shaking or punishing with an implement.