AM welcomes first step to end the physical punishment of children

New legislation aimed at ending the physical punishment of children in Wales has been welcomed by the town’s Assembly Member.

Earlier this week, the Welsh Government introduced the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill to the National Assembly and Lesley Griffiths AM believes the move will help strengthen and protect children’s rights.

If the Bill is passed, parents and other adults in a parental capacity will no longer be able to physically punish children, granting children the same protection from physical punishment as adults.

Lesley Griffiths AM said: “Times and attitudes have changed.  As a parent, I want to do all I can to help protect children from harm and I firmly believe there is no place for physical punishment in modern Wales.”

“The Welsh Labour Government has proved to be one of the most progressive nations in promoting children’s rights.  With similar legislation being adopted by more than 50 countries across the world, it is important Wales responds by sending a clear message that physically punishing children is not acceptable.”

If passed, the Bill will abolish the common law defence of reasonable punishment so that any adult acting in a parental capacity cannot use it as a defence if accused of assault or battery against a child – meaning they can no longer legally physically punish a child.

The Bill will now be scrutinised by AMs, with the Welsh Government hopeful legislation could be in place by spring 2020.  An awareness-raising campaign and support for parents would accompany the legislation when it is passed.