Loving smack, light smack, physical punishment, whatever it’s called, it is still hitting a little person
The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan yesterday told Assembly Members, however we define or try to justify smacking, it is still hitting a child - and we want that to stop.
The Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill will reach another milestone on Tuesday when it will be debated in the Senedd for the first time since its introduction in March.
The purpose of the Bill is to help protect children’s rights; it builds on the Welsh Government’s commitment to children’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
If passed by the National Assembly for Wales and it becomes law, parents and other adults acting in a parental capacity will no longer be able to physically punish children.
The debate is the final part of the stage one process, which has heard evidence from a variety of organisations and representatives including the police, local authorities, children’s services and health services who have all backed the bill.
It has also received support from a number of children’s charities including the NSPCC, Barnardo’s Cymru, Save the Children, Action for Children and Children in Wales. The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has also welcomed its introduction.
The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, yesterday said:
There is no reason to ever hit a child, something that has resonated with others when the Bill has been discussed.
As part of the discussion people have justified smacking because they were hit as a child. But what may have been deemed as appropriate in the past is no longer acceptable. Our children deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity as adults. As a government we want to give children in Wales the same level of protection from physical punishment as adults.
Now is the time for Wales to join more than 55 other nations across the world who have taken steps to end the physical punishment of children. Now is the time to bring clarity for parents, professionals and children that physically punishing a child is not acceptable in Wales.
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