From today physically punishing children will be illegal in Wales as Welsh Government continues to put children’s rights at the heart of its policies.
Wales joins more than 60 nations across the world to end the physical punishment of children. This landmark legislation removes the archaic 160-year-old legal defence and provides children the same protection from assault as adults.
Under the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 all types of physical punishment, such as smacking, hitting, slapping and shaking, are illegal. The new law will apply to everybody in Wales, including visitors, from 21 March 2022.
Welcoming the Act coming into force at a Toddler Takeover event at Techniquest, The Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan said:
Today is a historic moment for children and their rights in Wales as we make physically punishing children a thing of the past. I have campaigned to make physical punishment illegal for more than 20 years. I am thrilled that from today children finally have the same protection from assault as adults.
The law is now clear - easier for children, parents, professionals and the public to understand. Physical punishment is illegal in Wales and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.
We want to protect children and their rights and this law will add to the fantastic work we are doing to make sure all children in Wales have the best start in life and to live the lives they want to live.
The First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford said:
I am delighted the physical punishment of children is now illegal in Wales. This is a historic achievement for children and their rights.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child makes it clear that children have the right to be protected from harm and from being hurt and this includes physical punishment. That right is now enshrined in Welsh law. No more grey areas. No more ‘defence of reasonable punishment.’ That is all in the past. There is no place for physical punishment in a modern Wales.