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Wales smacking ban

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; 1 abstention.

During the debate, the Government Minister said:

"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.