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From March 2022, the law in Wales is changing.

First published:
25 March 2019
Last updated:

What is physical punishment

Physical punishment is when you use physical force to punish a child. Smacking is what usually comes to mind but it isn’t limited to smacking. There is no definitive list of what makes up physical punishment. 

Why are you changing the law

We want to help protect children and their rights, and to help give them the best start in life. Research suggests all physical punishment under any condition could be harmful to children. We want children to have the same protection from physical punishment as adults.

So it’s legal to use physical punishment on children now

It’s a bit of a grey area. Hitting a child is common assault. If an adult is charged with common assault against a child, they could try to use the defence of reasonable punishment. From March 2022, this defence will no longer be available for adults to use. This means children will have the same protection from physical punishment as adults. It will not create a new offence.

Will the change in law apply to everybody in Wales

Yes, physical punishment of a child will be against the law in Wales. And as with other laws, it would apply to visitors to Wales. 

Why is the law coming into force in 2022

We want to make sure that everyone is ready for the change in law. We want to ensure professionals who work with parents and children know about the change to the law. We will also work with organisations involved in implementing the law change. 

Where can I find more advice and support on parenting

Parenting. Give it time offers practical advice, tips and activities with a focus on positive parenting techniques.

Keep up to date on social media using #EndPhysiclalPunishment:

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