Child on staircase

A ban on parents smacking children in Wales has moved a step closer following a series of votes by assembly members.

It is expected to clear its final hurdle next week when it goes back to the assembly for the last time.

AMs rejected Conservative amendments that would have forced the Welsh Government to provide more information about how the ban will work.

Ministers say they have already committed to a publicity campaign about the change in the law.

The Abolition of the Defence of Reasonable Punishment Bill is likely to pass with the support of Labour and Plaid Cymru AMs.

It will come into force in 2022.

It follows a vote to outlaw smacking children in Scotland in October last year – but there are currently no plans to introduce a similar law in either England or Northern Ireland.

Tory opponents to the bill in Wales, who called it a “snoopers’ charter”, wanted to force the government to advise people on how to report concerns about the physical punishment of children.

Deputy Social Services Minister Julie Morgan said the proposal “doesn’t make sense” because the bill does not create any new offences.

Instead, it would remove the defence of reasonable punishment in cases of common assault.

Based on the impact of a smacking ban in New Zealand, the government estimates there will be about 38 cases of people breaking the law in the first five years.

Plaid Cymru AM Helen Mary Jones said: “I really do not believe that we are likely to see dozens and dozens of families facing prosecution who would not otherwise have done so.”

Is there anything you would like to know about the proposal?

Use this form to send us your questions:

If you are reading this page on the BBC News app, you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question on this topic.

Leave a Reply