Hundreds of parents will be investigated by police and JAILED for smacking their children under new laws in Wales, campaigners warn

Hundreds of parents could be investigated by police for smacking their children under new laws in Wales, campaigners have warned.
The Welsh government has drawn up plans to end the defence of reasonable punishment for smacking a child that has been in force since the Victorian times.
Ministers in Cardiff are hoping to pass the Children (Wales) Bill, in what would act as the first divergence of core criminal law between Wales and England.
But campaigners have warned the Welsh government they are 'playing with fire' and that hundreds of parents will be investigated by police under the new laws.

Jamie Gillies, a spokesman for campaign group Be Reasonable, told the Welsh Assembly's Children, Young People and Education Committee: '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.'
Mr Gillies added that changing the law would be 'disproportionate'. 
Referring to data from the Police Liaison Unit, Mr Gillies told the Committee that it deduced there 'could be around 1,300 investigations into smacking as an assault after the law changes in the first 5 years of implementation'.
He continued: 'So how many parents are we going to see criminalised for actions which we now call smacking or reasonable chastisement? 
'How many parents are going to have police cautions, which would appear on DBS checks which could affect potentially their employment?' 
The bill will now be scrutinised by AMs, with Welsh Government sources confident it will be passed by the National Assembly and brought into law after achieving Royal Assent by Spring 2020.
If the legislation is passed Wales would join the 54 countries around the world which have already banned the physical punishment of children, including Greece, Latvia, Albania, DR Congo, Kenya, with Sweden being the first to do so back in 1979.
Viv Laing, head of policy at NSPCC Cymru, said: 'It's wrong that children in Wales have less protection from assault and that a legal defence which does not exist when an adult is hit can be used to justify striking a child.
'We have long campaigned for equal protection for children and we strongly believe a change in the law is a common-sense move. Closing this loophole brings Wales in line with dozens of countries across the world and is simply about fairness and equality for our children.'
Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: 'When a parent raises a hand to a defenceless child, whether that's a smack, slap or another physically harmful behaviour, they have lost control.
'Research tells us that children who are physically punished are more likely to have poorer mental health and physical well-being and when they grow up, are more likely to engage in self-destructive or antisocial behaviour. Hurting a child isn't acceptable and it is a form of child abuse.'
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