Assembly Committee supports ending physical punishment of children
The National Assembly for Wales’ Children, Young People and Education Committee has announced its support for the proposal to remove the defence of reasonable punishment in Welsh law.
On 25 March 2019, the Welsh Government introduced the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill. If passed, this law will mean that it would no longer be legal for children in Wales to be physically punished.
A majority of the Committee’s members support the Welsh Government’s Bill. However, in its new report Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill Committee Stage 1 Report the Committee is recommending two things it says are vital if this Bill is to benefit children and their families:
- A wide-ranging awareness raising campaign about what this Bill will do is essential. The Committee believes this is fundamental to the success of this legislation and, therefore, there must be a legal duty on the Welsh Government to deliver this.
- There must be universal support available to parents across Wales. Much more needs to be done to help all families with the inevitable challenges that parenting brings.
Launching the report on behalf of the Committee, Chair, Lynne Neagle AM said:
‘As a Committee, we fully recognise that there are strongly held views on both sides of the debate about whether this Welsh Government Bill should become law … On balance, the majority of our Committee believes there is a strong argument that this Bill will reduce the risk of potential harm to children and young people.’
The Stage 1 debate is scheduled to take place in Plenary on 17 September 2019. During this debate, all Assembly Members will have an opportunity to discuss the Bill. After the debate, Assembly Members will be asked to vote on whether the Bill should progress to the next stage.