Welsh Conservatives oppose committee’s progress with ‘smacking ban’

Shadow Ministers have commented on the news today that support has been given by some members of the National Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee for the so-called ‘smacking ban’.

Welsh Conservative committee members Janet Finch-Saunders AM and Suzy Davies AM stood against fellow committee members to oppose recommendations from the Bill’s consultation, to support the general principles of the ban.

Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, Janet Finch Saunders, said:

“While we continue to strive to create the safest possible environment for our children here in Wales, this Welsh Labour Government proposal is poorly thought-through and unenforceable.

“There isn’t public backing for the change in the law, with the majority of respondents saying they did not support the general principles of the Bill.

“This Bill would have serious and disproportionate ramifications for families, with long-lasting criminal records for the accused and children at risk of being removed from their homes while cases are prosecuted.

“I will not give it my backing until more is done to address these repercussions, as well as other grey issues around its policing and enforceability.”

Shadow Education Minister, Suzy Davies AM added:

“Any abuse of a child is abhorrent and thankfully we have robust laws in place now to protect young people from harm from adults.  The Committee has scrutinised the Labour party’s manifesto commitment thoroughly and thoughtfully but the evidence we heard and tested is just not conclusive. For an issue of such sensitivity, it needs to be conclusive.

“I am not convinced that the risks of this intrusion into family life outweigh the benefits. The intention may not be to criminalise parents but we can’t get away from the fact that this legislation removes a defence to a criminal act and so that is the inevitable consequence.

“Without public support for the Bill, I’d far rather the Welsh Government focused more of its energy on protecting the future prospects for children through addressing serious issues with our struggling education system.”