Success! Hitting children banned as bill to abolish ‘reasonable punishment’ in Wales becomes law

24 March, 2020

Wales Humanists has welcomed a historic Act that will outlaw the physical punishment of children in Wales, calling it ‘a huge success for children’s rights’.

The Act, which received royal assent on Friday and will come into force in March 2022, abolishes the defence of ‘reasonable punishment’ in cases of assault by a parent or carer against a child. It means that, from this date, all forms of violence against children will be illegal in Wales.

Wales Humanists, which has long campaigned for children to be protected from physical chastisement, supported the Bill from its inception. This included making Government consultation responses and encouraging its members and supporters to write to ministers and respond to the Government’s consultation themselves.

Wales Humanists Coordinator Kathy Riddick commented:

‘We are delighted that children in Wales will soon enjoy the same legal protections from physical violence as adults. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recognises that any physical punishment of children, however minor, is incompatible with their human rights. This new law is a huge success for children’s right in Wales.’

Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson added:

‘This is an enormous success for Wales and we only hope that, when they have the capacity, governments in England and Northern Ireland will take note of this development and change their laws to ensure that children have the same protection from violence, no matter where they live.’

The Scottish Parliament passed similar measures in October 2019, with support from Humanist Society Scotland.


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

Read our most recent article on the abolition of ‘reasonable punishment’ in Wales.

Read our response to the Government consultation on the Bill.

Wales Humanists is a part of Humanists UK. Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.