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The physical punishment of children is ineffective and outdated and goes against the Welsh Government’s commitment to giving all children the best possible start in life.

First published:
14 March 2018
Last updated:

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

Speaking at a conference on “Promoting positive parenting to help make the world a more peaceful place” in Cardiff, the Minister will say that the way parents support their children in their formative years is more important than other factors such as social class or family structure, which is why supporting families to give their children the best start possible is at the heart of the Welsh Government’s agenda.

He will reiterate the Welsh Government’s view that the physical punishment of a child is no longer acceptable in a modern, progressive Wales.

As part of this, Ministers are currently consulting on plans to introduce legislation which would remove the legal defence of reasonable punishment to make it clear that the physical punishment of a child is no longer acceptable in Wales. 

This is part of a much wider package of measures the Welsh Government is taking to support parents to do the best job they can.

Huw Irranca-Davies will say:

“In Wales we are rightly proud of our record of promoting children’s rights and working to ensure all children have the best possible start in life.

“There is nothing more important than the safety and wellbeing of children. Raising children is something that we all have a stake in. While the primary responsibility for raising children lies with parents, the Welsh Government has a very specific role in creating the kind of society in which children grow up in a safe and nurturing environment. 

“Our knowledge of what children need to grow and thrive has developed considerably over the last twenty years. We now know that physical punishment can have negative long term impacts on a child’s life chances and we also know it is an ineffective punishment.

“If there is any potential risk of harm to a child then it is our obligation as a Government to take action. Legislation was introduced many years ago to stop the physical punishment of our children in schools and childcare settings – now is the time to ensure it is no longer acceptable anywhere.  

“Physically punishing a child is outdated, and is no longer acceptable in a modern, progressive Wales. This is why we are committed to removing the defence of reasonable punishment, which reinforces our long standing commitment to children’s rights, based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“Our aim is to accelerate existing trends in the way parents in Wales discipline their children and to support them in feeling confident to choose positive and more effective methods of discipline.”

The consultation on the Welsh Government’s legislative proposal is open until 2nd April.