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Smacking could be banned in England

kids children girl playing child sad

1:07pm 10th January 2018
(Updated 9:24am 27th February 2018)

Children's campaigners in England are renewing their calls for smacking to be banned in England, following Scotland's ban. Now, people in Wales are being asked for their views on plans to ban the smacking of children.

The Welsh government aims to remove the defence of reasonable punishment to the offences of battery and assault.

If implemented, Wales would follow Scotland in ending the physical punishment of children.

Last October, Scotland announced its plans to remove the defence of "justifiable assault" in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment to discipline a child.

Launching a 12-week consultation on the issue, Welsh minister for children and social care, Huw Irranca-Davies, said the ban would be part of a wider package of measures to support children.

"We want parents in Wales to be confident in managing their children's behaviour without feeling they must resort to physical punishment," he said.

"If there is any potential risk of harm to a child then it is our obligation as a government to take action.

"Legislation was introduced many years ago to stop physical punishment in schools and childcare settings - now is the time to ensure it is no longer acceptable anywhere."

The proposed legislation would not result in the creation of a new offence but would instead remove a defence to the existing offences of assault and battery.

This means an adult looking after a child would no longer be able to use physical or corporal punishment against them.

NSPCC Cymru said it had long campaigned for children in Wales to have the same protection against assault as adults.

"We welcome the steps being taken towards removing the defence of 'reasonable punishment'," a spokesperson said.

Sally Holland, the Children's Commissioner for Wales, said the proposed legislation, if accepted, would mean Wales was leading the way "yet again in protecting children's rights".

Other countries that have already made the change include France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Ireland.

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