Archbishop backs ban on smacking
THE ARCHBISHOP of Wales has lent his support to the campaign to ban corporal punishment of children in Wales.
On 20 November the Most Rev Barry Morgan said he backed the call by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Dr Sally Holland, to ban smacking.
“Today more than ever before we need to stand up against violence in our society and teach our children a better way of life. Legislation to remove the defence of ‘reasonable punishment’ is crucial because it reflects the compassionate, non-violent society we want for all children.
“Physical punishment of children has for too long been a common part of our culture – children should not have to wait for public opinion to change, or for the delivery of better services to families.
“While the law sends the message that it is defensible to hit a child, children will continue to be hit. And in ‘at risk’ families, children may be exposed to severe assaults in the name of discipline.”
In 2011, Welsh Assembly Members voted in principle to remove the defence of “reasonable chastisement” from the law, but took no further action in criminalising corporal punishment.
Last February Dr Holland and Archbishop Morgan came out in support of an amendment to the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill, which would have removed the defence of “reasonable punishment” when disciplining children. The amendment failed by a vote of 36 to 16.
“Just as it is unacceptable to hit another adult so it should be unacceptable to smack a child – more so, in fact, because a child is more vulnerable,” Archbishop Morgan said.
“That does not mean that anything goes as far as bringing up children is concerned – but it does rule out physical punishment. We all have a responsibility for ending the legal and cultural acceptance of this most common form of violence against children.”