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Welsh Assembly consultation on physical punishment

The Welsh Government has today opened a consultation on a proposal to remove the defence of reasonable punishment when physically punishing or smacking a child.  Currently it is against the law for a parent or carer to smack their child, except where this amounts to ‘reasonable punishment’.  They are consulting on the development of a proposal in law to remove this defence. This would not create a new criminal offence, but would remove a defence to the existing offence of common assault or battery.Physical punishment is already illegal in schools and childcare settings and PACEY are aware how hard members work to support the development of positive behaviour within settings and how this can also influence parents/carers of children in their care on their approach to the use of physical punishment.

The Welsh Government is proud of their record of working to ensure all children in Wales have the best start in life and of promoting children’s rights.  PACEY has previously supported the move in this direction and will continue to do so.

Welsh Government have stated they want to make it clear that physically punishing a child is no longer acceptable in Wales and that the proposed legislation aims to address an aspect of the law which is out of date and at odds with modern society.  It is part of a wider package of measures aimed at bringing about changes in attitudes towards the way children and young people are raised and disciplined, by making physical punishment unacceptable and by promoting positive alternatives.

The consultation aims to seek views to inform the further development of the legislative proposal, as well as the wider package of measures to support the legislation. 

It is also important to note that the NSPCC Cymru/Wales newest campaign, Take 5, has been developed to help parents of 1-4 year olds to keep their cool when dealing with challenging parenting moments. This Positive Parenting campaign has been designed with parents at its heart, and aims to provide simple, memorable messages to help parents keep calm in difficult, everyday scenarios.

NSPCC Cymru/Wales also have printed resources available. Please email Rosalie.stonehouse@nspcc.org.uk if you would like to request some of these materials to be used in your setting.