Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wales: Smacking Ban Must be Slapped Down

This article just in from (hat tip, Family Integrity)

I'm told there are moves in Parliament to bring in a Bill to outlaw smacking. If they succeed, I will again oppose it, which seems odd when I abhor smacking and long for a world in which every child is free from fear.

The reason for my objection is "mission-creep", that insidious disease which overtakes too many pieces of legislation that at first seem sensible. In other words, give an idiot a law a sane man or woman would use sensibly and the idiot will abuse it.

Mission-creep has overtaken terrorism laws so that they are now used against ordinary citizens. Latest figures reveal that councils across Wales and England launched more than 10,000 spying missions last year to investigate possible petty offences.

Rules to curb paedophile activity have led to inexcusable situations like a mother from Aberfan being banned from riding in a taxi with her disabled child until she has a criminal record check.

If a smacking ban succeeds, forget assurances that it will be used with common sense. Before long some good mum or dad will be hauled into court because, in a moment of panic, they tapped little Johnny's legs for running into the road. The case will probably be thrown out when the court sees the whole picture, but not before that family has been traumatised.

We already have laws to prevent the abuse of children – laws which are not used often enough in my opinion – but my fear of mission-creep if there is a total ban on smacking is very real.

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