Last week, the Welsh National Assembly
considered an amendment to the Social Services and Well-being Bill
which would effectively ban all physical punishment of children.
After debate, a vote on the amendment was lost: 14 for; 39 against;
During the debate, the Government Minister
"Whilst there will be other legislative
opportunities in the future which are more appropriate for
effecting a ban on the physical punishment of children, the
Government is clear that it could not support any amendment to the
Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill to achieve this aim. A
change of this nature, without appropriate public consultation,
would not be the right thing to do.
"Whether – and when – a suitable legislative
opportunity does arise will depend to a degree on the outcome of
the current Welsh Labour consultation exercise on this issue and
indications of support for such a change in the law.
"There will be opportunities to examine this
issue in forthcoming legislation in this Assembly term. It would be
good to work on this on a cross-party basis in the future."
Although the amendment was defeated,
supporters of a ban stated in the debate that there must be an
opportunity for the Assembly to pursue this issue soon. The most
likely way this could happen is through a Domestic Abuse Bill,
expected to be introduced early in the summer.