Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care
The Welsh Government is committed to protecting children’s rights and will introduce a Bill to remove the defence of reasonable punishment in year three of the legislative programme.
Prohibiting the physical punishment of children by their parents, or those acting in loco parentis, is consistent with the Welsh Government’s commitment to the principles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child. The legislation will be underpinned by a range of support for parents and information about parenting strategies and alternatives to physical punishment to help parents make positive choices.
I launched a consultation in January about legislating to remove the defence of reasonable punishment. This closed on 2 April 2018; the responses received from the public and stakeholders will inform the development of the Bill and to address any concerns as the legislation develops.
The summary of consultation responses is published today. There were 1,892 responses to the consultation and a further 274 people took part in external engagement events held with representatives of stakeholder organisations, the public and young people, parents and carers.
An independent reviewer, Arad, has analysed the responses and drawn out key messages. Slightly more than half of the respondents – 50.3% – agreed the legislative proposal would help achieve our stated aim of protecting children’s rights; 48.1% of respondents disagreed.
The summary and analysis of the responses to the consultation is published on the Welsh Government website.
All the responses received will be considered during the development of the Bill. We will also continue to work with stakeholders as we bring forward legislation.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.