Consultation on ‘reasonable punishment’ in Wales

Consultation on the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill

The Welsh Government is considering a change in the law that aims to stop violence against children.

This is our chance to end child smacking in Wales.

Just as adults have legal protection from assault, children should have the same right to be protected from violence.

The proposed change in the law would abolish the defence of ‘reasonable punishment’ – making any form of physical punishment or violence against children illegal.

A consultation is currently open, inviting feedback on the proposals. By responding to the consultation you’ll make public opposition to violence against children loud and clear, and help to ensure the right of children to be protected from violence is recognised in law.

Responses must be submitted by 14 May 2019 via the online survey.

The survey is very short and should take no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete.

Our suggested responses to the survey are listed below in boxes like this one – please adapt these answers or add your own thoughts when responding to the consultation.

Respond to the consultation

1. The Bill’s general principles

1.1 Do you support the principles of the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill?


1.2 Please outline your reasons for your answer to question 1.1

Just as adults have legal protection from assault, children should have the same right to be protected from violence and the removal of this as a defence will ensure that right is recognised in law. There is no justification for why children, who are by their nature more vulnerable to assault than adults, should have less protection under the law.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recognises that any physical punishment of children, however minor, is incompatible with the human rights of children, and has called for it to be abolished. It recognises the right of the child to respect for their human dignity, physical integrity and equal protection under the law.

1.3 Do you think there is a need for legislation to deliver what this Bill is trying to achieve?

Yes. The law needs to be clear that children have the same rights protecting them from harm as adults. Any person inflicting injury on a child must know they face consequences under the law and there is no possible defence suggesting it is in the child’s interest to be physically punished.

2. The Bill’s implementation

2.1 Do you have any comments about any potential barriers to implementing the Bill?

I support the need for a publicity campaign explaining what this change in law will mean in practice for parents, and additional parental support to understand and implement the changes through schemes such as Flying Start.

2.2 Do you think the Bill takes account of these potential barriers?


3. Unintended consequences

3.1 Do you think there are any unintended consequences arising from the Bill?


5. Other considerations

5.1 Do you have any other points you wish to raise about this Bill?

Use this section of the survey to raise any other thoughts you have on the Bill and child smacking.