Wales

Smacking ban law plan for Wales is dropped

Christine Chapman
Image caption Christine Chapman has previously said she feels 'cheated' by the lack of legislation to ban smacking

Proposals to introduce a law to ban smacking children in Wales have been dropped.

The assembly's communities, equality and local government committee had considered including the ban as part of a new law to tackle domestic violence.

However, Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said it was the "wrong vehicle" to introduce such a law.

Committee chair Christine Chapman said she was disappointed the government "cannot yet do the right thing".

In October 2011 assembly members voted in favour of banning the defence of "reasonable chastisement" for smacking.

But the then minister responsible for children, Gwenda Thomas, ruled out legislation before the 2016 assembly election, citing the need for preparatory work amid fears of "criminalising" parents.

Protection 'deserved'

The Welsh government has since resisted attempts to add a smacking ban to other bills, calling for a cross-party committee to examine when to introduce such a measure.

Ms Chapman has previously said she feels "cheated" over the lack of legislation.

Speaking during a committee debate on the issue on Thursday, the Labour AM said she was voting against her government on the issue "with a very heavy heart".

"We owe it to the children of Wales to give them the equal protection they deserve and in doing so I believe this will hugely strengthen the Bill," she said before the bid was dropped.

Mr Andrews said the domestic violence bill was not the right place to address the issue of smacking, adding he did not think the amendments were "well considered".

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