Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds says a ban on smacking children is a matter of common sense.

Ms Dodds was responding to the launch of a 12-week consultation by the Welsh Government on the issue, which could see the removal of ‘reasonable punishment’ as a defence for assault and battery, and would therefore effectively outlaw smacking as a form of chastisement in Wales.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have consistently supported banning smacking by ending the defence of reasonable chastisement. This common sense step is supported by children’s organisations across Wales and gives children the same protections from assault as their adult peers,” she said.

“Smacking is counterproductive, it makes children more likely to misbehave while increasing the risk of childhood aggression and anxiety and adult aggression and mental illness. We must protect our children from these harms and ensure the relationship between parents and children remains one of love and not fear.”

Wales is aiming to follow the Scottish Parliament, which last year become the first government in the UK to bring forward plans to outlaw the use of smacking. Countries where smacking is banned include France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland.

The consultation closes on April 2, 2018 with Welsh Assembly members due to consider the proposals next autumn.