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How can it be right for a big person to hit a little person? Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan has said in her final evidence session at the Children, Young People and Education Committee.

First published:
12 June 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

On Wednesday (June 12th) the Deputy Minister attended her final evidence session for stage one of the scrutiny process for the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill.

The Minister reaffirmed her commitment that physical punishment of children should be prohibited by law. 

Since the Bill was introduced in March this year, a number of organisations and key individuals have been supportive of the principle of the Bill. There has been strong support from health and safeguarding professionals, including The Royal Colleges of Paediatrics and Child Health Wales, GPs and Nursing.

Giving evidence at a previous Children, Young People and Education Committee the Children’s Commissioner, Sally Holland, said:

“I do believe that the current law is not effective, and the main, primary reason that it's not effective is because it doesn't protect the human rights of our children in Wales. In fact, it breaches both Wales and the UK's commitment to children's human rights.”

During other evidence sessions a number of organisations believed the new law would provide greater clarity.

“This change will bring welcome clarity for parents and professionals, and it will, more importantly, better protect children.”

Vivienne Laing, NSPCC

“We welcome the proposed change for the clarity it would bring—the clarity that it would bring for children, for parents and for professionals.”

Sally Jenkins, ADSS

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:

“There is no reason for an adult to ever physically punish a child. This Bill helps protect children’s rights and give children the same protection from physical punishment as adults. 

“The Bill has gained significant support from a wide range of organisations and individuals. The evidence provided by key stakeholders has overwhelmingly shown the need for clarity in the law for parents, children and professionals.”

Following the conclusion of evidence gathering for stage 1 of the scrutiny process, the National Assembly for Wales scrutiny Committees will now consider the evidence received and write their reports which must be published in the summer.