Wales takes the next step to end the physical punishment of children
Wales will today take the next step towards protecting children’s’ rights by introducing legislation to end the physical punishment of children.
The Welsh Government has today (25 March) introduced the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill to the National Assembly.
If the Bill is passed by the National Assembly for Wales, parents and other adults acting in a parental capacity will no longer be able to physically punish children – children will have the same protection from physical punishment as adults.
The Bill will do this by abolishing the common law defence of reasonable punishment so that any adult acting in a parental capacity cannot use it as a defence if accused of assault or battery against a child – meaning they can no longer legally physically punish a child.
This builds on the Welsh Government’s commitment to children’s rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan said:
We are sending a clear message that the physical punishment of children is not acceptable in Wales.
What may have been deemed as appropriate in the past is no longer acceptable. Our children must feel safe and be treated with dignity.
The legislation will be accompanied by an awareness-raising campaign and support for parents. It aims to help eliminate the use and tolerance of physical punishment of children in Wales.
Research published last year suggests attitudes to the physical punishment of children are changing. It found 81% of parents of young children in Wales disagreed that “it is sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child” – a significant increase from 71% in 2015.
The Parental Attitudes Towards Managing Young Children's Behaviour 2017 survey also found only 11% of parents with young children reported they had smacked their children in the last six months as a way of managing their behaviour, half that in 2015 at 22%.
The Deputy Minister added:
More than 50 nations across the world have already responded to the international call to end the physical punishment of children.
As one of the most progressive nations in the world when it comes to promoting children’s rights, I am proud this Welsh Government is legislating to bring an end to the physical punishment of children in Wales, further protecting children’s rights.
As the international community commemorates the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child this year, it is very fitting that Wales is taking this significant step in expressing our country’s commitment to protecting children’s rights.
The Bill as part of a much wider package of support for children and their parents. This includes:
- the Parenting: Give It Time campaign, which is designed to help parents do the best job they can, providing positive parenting tips and information
- access to a range of services to promote positive parenting, delivered through the NHS, education services, social services, Flying Start, Families First and the third sector.
Welcoming the announcement, Professor Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said:
There’s nothing reasonable about physically punishing a child. This Bill sends a clear signal that Wales is a country which protects children; a country which will afford children equal protection from physical punishment as adults; a country which promotes children’s rights.
This positive development is about removing a legal loophole to reflect what the vast majority of us parents believe: that physically punishing a child is no longer acceptable, anywhere.
Latest News from
Covid hubs in North Wales offering support to the hardest hit11/06/2021 14:05:00
Hubs offering holistic support to people who need to self-isolate and to those hit hardest by the pandemic are being rolled out in a pilot scheme across five areas in North Wales.
Major funding boost to support personalised learner support11/06/2021 09:05:00
The Welsh Government will provide £33 million to support learners in colleges and sixth forms across Wales, as part of the £150 million it has committed to the education response to COVID-19.
54,000 people in Wales helped into work thanks to Working Wales10/06/2021 14:05:00
More than 54,000 people across Wales have been supported to improve their career prospects and get into work in the first two years of Working Wales, Welsh Government’s employability service, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething announced today.
New £3m respite fund launched to give unpaid carers a well-earned break08/06/2021 09:05:00
A new £3m fund is being set up to provide respite and short breaks for Wales’ small army of unpaid carers, Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan yesterday announced.
“No-one left behind” as Wales’ incredible vaccine programme moves forward07/06/2021 14:05:00
All over-18s will be offered a Covid vaccine by the start of next week, as First Minister Mark Drakeford praised the people behind Wales’ world-leading vaccination programme.
CMO advice for 3 June regulatory review of the Coronavirus Regulations07/06/2021 10:20:00
Advice presented to First Minister on regulatory review of the Coronavirus Regulations.
First Minister confirms phased move to alert level one04/06/2021 12:15:00
Up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors and large outdoor activities will be able to take place from Monday, as Wales moves into alert level one, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced today (Friday June 4).
Recovery must be secured as a partnership of equals04/06/2021 12:10:00
UK Government must act on Scottish Government concerns.
Portugal moves to amber on international travel traffic-light list04/06/2021 11:15:00
Travellers returning to Wales from Portugal will need to self-isolate on their return after the Welsh Government confirmed the popular holiday destination will be moving to the amber list from 04:00hrs on Tuesday 8 June.