A SURVEY on proposals to ban parents in Wales from smacking their children has found slightly more than half of people agree the plan will succeed in protecting children's rights.

The Welsh Government is planning on removing the legal defence of 'reasonable punishment' in cases of assault and battery - effectively making it illegal for parents to smack their children.

Rather than making smacking a criminal offence, anyone charged with having assaulted a child - including their parents - will not be able to say hitting them was reasonable as they were misbehaving.

And now the results of a consultation into the proposal, which received 1,890 responses, has found 50.3 per cent people agree the plan would protect children's rights, while 48.1 per cent said they disagreed and 1.5 cent said they didn't know.

Minister for children Huw Irranca-Davies said the proposal "reinforces our long-standing commitment to children’s rights".

“The consultation we launched earlier this year was intended to help inform our legislative proposals, ensuring we develop the very best legislation to help us achieve our aim," he said.

"I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to respond. The responses received will be considered during the development of the bill.

“While the primary responsibility for raising children lies with parents, the Welsh Government has a very specific role in creating a society in which children can grow up in a safe and nurturing environment.

"Our commitment to introduce legislation, alongside support for parents, is key to us achieving success in this endeavour.”

The bill is expected to be presented to the Welsh Assembly within the next 12 months.

An NSPCC Cymru spokesman said: “The NSPCC has long campaigned for children in Wales to have the same protection against assault as adults.

“The Welsh Government’s consultation on this issue was an important step and it’s heartening to see the level of public response.

“We believe this change is a common-sense move which is about fairness and equality for children.

“It is wrong that a legal defence which does not exist in a case of assault against an adult can be used to justify striking a child.

“The proposed bill will bring Wales in line with other countries around the world by giving our children equal protection under the law.”