Wales has become the latest country to propose a ban on smacking which could see hundreds of parents facing jail time.

Wales is set to become the latest country to introduce a ban on smacking after legislation was introduced into the Welsh Assembly back in March. The government is currently reviewing the bill and hopes it will be brought into law next year, but many fear it will see parents face serious prosecution with smacking deemed as assault.

Be Reasonable

A spokesperson for parent campaign group Be Reasonable, James Gillies, told the committee responsible for the ban that “the ramifications of this Bill are massive for the Welsh public.” “The government is playing with fire if it thinks it can make this change in the law and not affect the lives of parents, and by extension, children,” he said. “How many parents are going to have police cautions, which would appear on checks which could potentially affect their employment? I oppose the government’s plan to criminalise parents who smack their children.”

In Australia, smacking remains legal provided it is ‘reasonable’ but ‘unreasonable’ use of force or corporal punishment may be deemed assault. The issue remains, however, that what is considered ‘reasonable’ is open to interpretation. Only NSW offers some guidelines for parents, stating that “force applied to any part of the head or neck of a child, or any other part of the body that results in bruising, marking, or other injury lasting longer than a short period is ‘unreasonable’.”

Serious Consequences

Some in Wales fear that the consequences of implementing such legislation could far outweigh the benefits. “Even when there is no crime, parents could still have their name recorded on a database,” Be Reasonable said in a statement. “In some cases, this could prevent them from getting a job, even if they are a highly skilled doctor, nurse or teacher.”

The Welsh government has rejected these claims, saying that children deserve the same protection from physical punishment as adults and it seems the general public agrees. In a survey conducted last year, 81% of parents disagreed that ‘it is sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child’ and only 11% admitted to smacking their child as a form of punishment in the last six months.

Whether the law will pass in Wales remains to be seen, but we wouldn’t be surprised if other countries, including Australia, revisited their legislation around smacking in the near future…

Do you think that parents should be allowed to smack their children? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • What next? A ban on yelling at your kids? You need to be able to discipline your children effectively. I don’t like smacking and I only rarely do it – it’s only if the kids have been super super duper in the wrong or doing something dangerous (like hiding in the neighbour’s yard and not coming when I was calling and frantically looking up and down the street for 20 mins).


  • I think a child will be more damaged by their parent being arrested and charged then a smack on the hand by way of punishment.


  • I don’t think it’s a great idea but maybe they have taken things too far.


  • There are more children who get into trouble now because they aren’t made responsible for their actions. When I was young, knowing I would get a spanking if I misbehaved was enough to deter me. I brought my sons up the same way. They are now very well behaved young men.


  • I agree with the current Australian legislation and agree with the term unreasonable. You know when it’s unreasonable, and you know when a smack is a reaction to stop an unsafe situation such as when a child goes to touch something hot and you have to smack the hand away. Abuse is different. Everyone has their own opinions on this matter and we all parent our kids differently. Violence is not acceptable in the context of assault and harm. A small smack is not harmful to a child an unreasonable one is…


  • Wow, how do you police or enforce this? And imagine the inconsistency of it all. I don’t think it’s something that should be outlawed, but education is absolutely key in encouraging people not to smack or tap their children. It’s all good to be outraged until you find yourself in a situation where you might accidentally smack your child, what once… and then be arrested!


  • Crazy, it’s like you are some serious criminal if you smack your children. I admit, I do it, but only very rarely.


  • And we wonder why kids don’t respect teachers, there’s more crime and parents can’t seem to control their kids in public. Total crap – I don’t even hurt mine when I smack- only their pride, but it’s enough that they respect me and follow my rules.


  • We are seeing the consequences of the namby pamby approach to discipline now with out of control teenagers and younger who have absolutely no respect for anyone. Who will be responsible for telling them this behavior is not acceptable. Neither parents nor teachers can give the necessary punishment and they know it. Our children all got smacked and have turned out to be amazing individuals with respect for others and authority.


  • Every nation that has enforced this ‘No smacking’ ban with perils for the parents are now wearing children who have no respect for any authority whatsoever. Don’t know what the final outcome will be, but it is disturbing that parents have to lock themselves away from their unruly children or otherwise get hurt physically.


  • Interesting read


  • Good, kids deserve the same protection as adults on physical punishment.

    • Absolutely agree with your comment – violence is never ever ok and everyone deserves to be free from any form of violence.


  • Don’t see how on earth they are going to enforce it.


  • No smacking – there is no need for it when words can be used to guide and to discipline.
    It does not teach respect – it only teaches fear.


  • interesting read


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