- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
Mike Hedges AM welcomes news that 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.
Swansea East AM said… ‘I welcome the publication of this Bill. It shows Wales’s commitment to supporting the rights of children as contained within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. We must put our principles into Practice not just speak nice words. I look forward to supporting the Bill.
Anyone who visits supermarkets, schools and leisure facilities cannot have failed to notice how parents tend not to hit their children. As someone who regularly visits secondary schools I have noticed how calm and non-violent they have become since corporal punishment was outlawed.
Unfortunately some do still hit their children including the radio Wales interviewee who said if you hit them over their nappie it will not hurt them much.’
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%.