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The objective of this research was to establish a research baseline on public attitudes towards physical punishment of children including the proposed legislation; Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill.

Nine questions were asked of parents/guardians and non-parents/guardians in the November 2018 Beaufort Wales Omnibus survey which interviews a representative quota sample of 1,002 adults across Wales. Respondents were asked a series of questions about attitudes towards smacking, awareness of legislation around physical punishment of children and awareness and opinion of proposed changes to legislation.

Key findings

  • When asked whether they agree with the statement ‘it is sometimes necessary to smack a child’, 35% of respondents agreed and 49% disagreed.
  • Of those surveyed, 58% thought that the law did not allow parents to smack their children; 27% thought the law did allow parents to smack; and the remaining 15% reported being unsure.
  • Twenty eight percent of respondents reported being aware of proposed changes to the law around physical punishment of children at an unprompted level.
  • When given a description of the proposal and asked if they were aware, 17% said they were aware of the proposal with a further 17% aware but not sure about the details.
  • Of those surveyed, 38% reported that they supported the change, 31% were against it and 31% reported needing more information/don’t know.


Public attitudes to physical punishment of children: baseline survey, 2018
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Hayley Collicott

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