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Consultation: physical punishment of children


The Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies AM, has launched a 12 week consultation on plans to remove the defence of reasonable punishment in Wales.

It is against the law for a parent or carer to smack their child, except where this amounts to ‘reasonable punishment’ (section 58 Children Act 2004).

The Welsh Government is consulting on the development of a legislative proposal 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.

Huw Irranca-Davies AM said:

‘Our knowledge of what children need to grow and thrive has developed considerably over the last 20 years. We now know that physical punishment can have long term impacts on a child's life chances, and we also know it is an ineffective punishment … We want parents in Wales to be confident in managing their children's behaviour without feeling they must resort to physical punishment.’

Closing date for responding to the consultation: 2 April 2018

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