Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wales Holds Out Against Smacking Ban

an excerpt from an article in the Western Mail (http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk).  Selection in bold of particular interest.  Click here to read the entire article.

"THE Children's Commissioner for Wales believes the Westminster Government is stopping young people gaining the rights they deserve.

Together with the commissioners for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Keith Towler will this week present his concerns to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.

He said: "I have major concerns around the levels of child poverty in Wales, and child and adolescent mental health services in this country are obviously struggling to cope with the demand, breaching children's rights in both policy and practice."

He added: "It also seems to me that the Westminster Government is working against the grain of a children's rights approach and is holding us back from supporting children and young people tied up in youth justice and those seeking asylum. There is a real need to allow children caught up in these systems to be treated as children first and allow them to exercise their rights."

He is also frustrated that Welsh politicians have not been able to push forward with the goal of banning smacking.

The commissioners' report states: "It is important to note that the Welsh Assembly Government agrees with the committee that all physical punishment should be prohibited but, due to the constitutional settlement for Wales, is unable to change the law. The legislative power to affect the desired change lies with the UK Parliament."

It continues: "In passing the Children Act 2004, the UK Parliament disregarded the views of the Welsh Assembly Government and the fact that the National Assembly of Wales had recently passed a motion regretting the UK Government's failure to prohibit the physical punishment of children in the family."

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