Arch­bishop backs ban on smack­ing

The Church of England - - NEWS -

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.”

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