Christians lobby on both sides of the Welsh smacking debate

Tue 18 Jul 2017
By Eno Adeogun

A UK-wide group supported by a number of Christian organisations have welcomed plans to ban the smacking of children in Wales.

The Welsh Government wants to remove the legal defence for parents who use corporal punishment to discipline children.

The Children are Unbeatable Alliance backed by groups including the Methodist Church in Britain, Churches for Non Violence and the United Reformed Church, are calling for the law to change so children have the same protection from being hit that adults have.

Sarah Reid, co-ordinator of Children are Unbeatable in Wales told Premier "It seems very unfair and it's actually quite risky at the moment that children don't have that same safeguard" adults have.

She also explained during News Hour why she as a Christian supports the law being changed to protect youngsters: "Many Christians see the principles that Jesus lived by as being a guide as to how they would like to live.

"He was always respectful and kind to children and the golden rule present in most world religions is something that we would see as being a model for us all to follow."

While the proposed bill has been received well by the campaigners who promote non-violent ways of managing children's behaviour, others have warned it will criminalise thousands of Welsh parents.

The move would mean if an adult is accused of hitting a child it would remove a defence for those who might argue they had not realised they had hit the child so hard.

Arthur Cornell, chairman of the Family Education Trust told Premier why he opposes the ban.

He said: "There is an assumption that because some children beat their children everybody should be prevented from adopting any form of physical behaviour that would correct a child's attitude or conduct.

"That obviously is not an acceptable principle."

A poll of 1,000 people by ComRes on behalf of Children are Unbeatable found that 85 per cent of Welsh adults were smacked as children and nearly 70 per cent agree that it is at times necessary to smack a naughty child.

The Welsh Government said it would make sure the law made "life better for parents and children". The government plans to ask people for their thoughts within the next twelve months.

Listen to Arthur Cornell, chairman of the Family Education Trust speaking to Premier's Alex Williams:

Listen to Sarah Reid, co-ordinator of Children are Unbeatable speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun: 

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