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Update to law on assault will help to protect children in Wales, says Committee, 02/08/19 [W]

The National Assembly for Wales’s Children, Young People and Education Committee has today announced its support for the proposal to give children equal protection from assault, by removing the defence of reasonable punishment in law in cases of assault and battery.

The Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill was introduced to the Assembly on 25 March, and will abolish the common law defence of reasonable punishment in cases of assault or battery against a children by parents or those acting in the place of parents.

The Children, Young People and Education Committee has the role of scrutinising the Bill before it becomes law. The Committee has given its support to the general principles of the Bill, which is the first stage of the process. The Bill will now continue to further stages before it becomes law.

A majority of Committee members supported the Bill, which they said will help to reduce harm to children and bring clarity to parents. However, it has recommended a wide-ranging awareness campaign for parents, and more help for families tackling the challenges of parenting.

Children in Wales has long supported the abolition of this amendment to the law, which will provide the protection for children that adults currently have against assault. Evidence has shown that physical punishment is ineffective and has a negative impact on children. It will also encourage a more positive parenting approach and enhance children’s rights.

Contact:

To find out more or to arrange an interview, please contact Catriona Williams on 029 2034 2434 or email catriona.williams@childreninwales.org.uk.

Notes:

  1. Children in Wales is the national umbrella organisation for people who work with children and young people in Wales. Our core aim is to contribute towards making the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) a reality in Wales.
  2. You can find full details of the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill and follow the progress of the Bill at http://senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=24674