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UK News

Churches divided as Wales announces smacking ban

by Ruth Sax

Wales joined Scotland in approving a ban on smacking children this week. Assembly Members voted 36 to 14 on Tuesday in favour of the Welsh Government bill, which means the country joins 58 other nations in ending the physical punishment of children.

The ban will not come into force until 2022 and the public have been promised an extensive awareness campaign before the implementation of the law.

Rev Aled Edwards from Churches Together in Wales told Premier the decision has divided opinion across churches in Wales: "We serve a number of churches and within Wales we reflect the diversity of opinion.

"We know that the Society of Friends in Wales, the Quakers, have been in favour of this ban. That does not surprise anyone given their view on violence. Within the United Reformed Church and the Methodist Church, they belong to two broader alliances that are also in favour of it. But beyond that, there will be a diversity of opinions within the churches.

"I know some churches in Wales are of the opinion that it is not appropriate to chastise children to beat them and they would fall in line with other modern sophisticated global democracies. Some believe the state does have a role to defend and look after its citizens by making these decisions whereas some think it is up to the family."

Someone who is vehemently opposed to the state making this decision is Christian writer and broadcaster Lynette Burrows, she is appalled by the ban and thinks families should have autonomy on this issue and not the government. 

She told Premier the decision is "absolutely detestable, it is an absolute infringement on everybody's liberties. It's stupid. It's short-sighted this mindset that always think you need something to do with government to run every aspect of your life is nonsense."

There are no plans to introduce bans in Northern Ireland or England.

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