Be­ware med­dling in fam­i­lies’ lives

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views -

THE NSPCC does great work in pro­tect­ing chil­dren from harm, but I’m afraid I find my­self in dis­agree­ment with Des Man­nion (the so­ci­ety’s head in Wales) who writes in sup­port of the As­sem­bly Gov­ern­ment’s plan to make smack­ing a crim­i­nal of­fence (Your Views, Fe­bru­ary 1).

The state has a role to play in safe-guard­ing chil­dren but it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of par­ents to bring up and dis­ci­pline chil­dren. Gov­ern­ment needs to think care­fully be­fore it risks med­dling in fam­ily life.

Any good par­ent is well aware that there is a world of dif­fer­ence be­tween a cor­rec­tive smack on the bot­tom, and child abuse or as­sault. The last- men­tioned are al­ready il­le­gal, so it is in­cor­rect to say that chil­dren do not have the same pro­tec­tion as adults from such abuse.

The Welsh Gov­ern­ment has said that its in­ten­tion is not to crim­i­nalise par­ents, but it’s ob­vi­ous that it would do ex­actly that. A 2017 ComRes poll showed that 76% of Welsh adults would be against that hap­pen­ing, but I get the im­pres­sion that even if there were 100% against a smack­ing ban, it would be un­likely to change the think­ing of those down in the Bay.

A smack­ing ban would prove to be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. Chas­ing up par­ents who are re­ported for triv­ial cases would take up too much po­lice and so­cial work­ers’ time – time which could be bet­ter spent deal­ing with se­ri­ous child abuse. I would ex­pect the NSPCC to have rec­og­nized that. RH Ash­ton Pengam, Black­wood

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