Ban on corporal punishment ‘will criminalise parents’

family law, Wales

A proposed ban on corporal punishment in Wales would criminalise “ordinary parents” campaigners claim.

The Welsh government is currently reviewing plans to eliminate the “reasonable chastisement” defence for parents. At the moment, adults are allowed to physically discipline their children if their action can be seen as reasonable. If this defence is taken away, parents will not be legally allowed to hit their children under any circumstances.

This proposal has been met with fierce opposition from a campaign group called Be Reasonable Wales. They have started a petition against this potential change in the law. One member of the organisation, a mother of one, claimed the measure would mean that ordinary parents would be seen as “no better than violent thugs and child abusers” in the eyes of the law. Politicians are “trying 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” she insisted.

However some groups have come out in support of the idea. Andy James is chairman of the Children are Unbeatable organisation. Speaking to the BBC, he accused Be Reasonable Wales of “scaremongering”, adding that “no-one has a right to hit another person, or to punish and control them”.

A spokeswoman for the Welsh government claimed they had a “firm commitment to seek cross-party support” for any changes to the law and would “consult fully on proposals, over the next 12 months, to ensure views are received from a wide range of people”.

Late last year, lawmakers in France outlawed smacking children, making it the 52nd country in the world to do so. The first was Sweden, where the practice was banned back in 1979.

Photo of the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff by Anna-Maria Oléhn via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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2 comments

Paul - July 17, 2017 at 9:51pm

Well surprisingly. Speaking as a father who has been criminalised by the courts. Labled an abusive father and stopped from seeing my kids by our rediculous family courts.
My position on this is that the old fassioned hit your unresponsive kids is absolutley unacceptible.
It absolutly does not have the desired effect and just teaches kids that bullying and intimidation are normal.
I don’t beleive in it.
I totally agree with making this kind of parenting unacceptible. Parents who hit their kids are parents who don’t know how to speak to their kids.
I would say that a better way to approach this is to promote a better way of parenting and how to develop a respectful relationship with your kids.
I would also say that parents who are doing this are copying the way they were raised. They need considrible help to change their ways and find other ways to improve their kids behaviour. Criminalising these parents will not help them or the kids. Parenting classes and perental support workers at school should be in place to help them.
Raising children does not always come naturally and some parents need help.
In principle I support stopping this behaviour. Do I trust our court system to do that. No I absolutly do not.
Standards of evidence would be rediculously obsure. I think people will be presumed guily and have to prove their innocence. Which is the disturbing way our courts have turned. Never one to miss an oppertunity to use the term ‘witch trial’ – it is a very appropriate discription of our family court system.

dr. manhattan62 - July 18, 2017 at 5:07pm

Social workers will be rubbing their hands as this could lead to even more children being removed and shipped off into Adoption.
even without this law Social workers can still accuse parents of smacking their children hard and their case files will be believed by the courts. they usually always favor the word of a Social worker over the parents. inequality is out of control in the family courts. as long as they have the title Professional in front of their name the court will believe almost anything they say. the parents word means nothing.

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