The Welsh assembly has stepped up pressure on the government to
outlaw the smacking of children.
Health and social services minister Jane Hutt told the assembly
that physical punishment of children was inappropriate. She
announced the setting up of a new code that would help to support
parents and provide positive alternatives to deal with discipline.
She said the new code, backed by £50,000 from the Welsh
assembly, would be developed with the umbrella charity Children in
Wales and the National Family and Parenting Institute. The first
materials are expected next spring.
Meanwhile, Labour MP for Lancaster and Wyre Hilton Dawson told a
debate in the House of Commons last week that the law on smacking
was “stuck in the time of Dickens”.
Dawson, a former social worker and parliamentary ambassador for the
NSPCC, said: “The 1860 law of reasonable chastisement was hatched
at a time when sending children up chimneys was considered
Calling for the law to be modernised and brought in line with other
countries, Dawson added: “[The current law] allows and encourages
harsh and frequent physical punishment of children, which most
caring parents would consider cruel.”
The debate on a ban on smacking was re-ignited by a UN report on
the rights of the child released last month, which criticised the
government for failing to address the issue (News, page 10, 10