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AMs consider tougher punishment for smacking children

AN AMENDMENT to toughen the punishment on smacking children was put forward for debate in the Senedd in Cardiff today.


The Welsh Senedd – Cardiff Bay

Adults currently have the defence for smacking children when it provides “reasonable punishment”.

However, Lindsay Whittle AM, a member of the Plaid Cymru party, has put forward the bill to change that and remove any defence for punishing minors with violence.

The vote comes as Assembly Members are again debating the Social Services Bill, which could see people given equal assessments for their care needs no matter where in Wales they live.

Julie Morgan AM’s senior research officer Sian Mile said: “It has been quite a long campaign. The National Assembly has voted twice for a ban before, back in 2004 and 2011.”

When the manifestos were drafted in 2011, the National Assembly did not have the power to legislate it.

It is not yet clear whether the Assembly will have the power to introduce a ban this time round.

Doctor Amy Brown, senior university lecturer in public health and policy and child development expert, said:

“If you go back 30 or 40 years, I am sure people will tell you they were smacked and they were fine from it. You need to think about the wider lessons for the child. They learn from copying others so, if you are smacking them, you are only silencing them by hitting them. “I don’t see how smacking can be a ‘reasonable punishment’. I would be very supportive of a ban because it teaches children violence is not right.”

A decision on the amendment was expected to be made this evening in the National Assembly building.