The Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill has achieved another milestone today (Tuesday 21st January) by reaching the final stage of Assembly scrutiny.
The Bill now moves to the fourth stage with a debate and final vote on the legislation taking place on Tuesday January 28. This will see Assembly Members vote on whether to pass the Bill.
If the Bill receives Royal Assent, it will become an Act. If the Act comes into force, parents and other adults acting in a parental capacity will no longer be able to rely on the defence of reasonable punishment if accused of assault or battery of a child.
In its journey through the Senedd, evidence has been heard from a range of organisations including the Royal College of Paediatrics, Royal College of Nursing, Association of Directors of Social Services and all police forces in Wales, which support the principles of the Bill. The Bill has also been supported by a number of children’s charities, including the NSPCC, Barnardo’s Cymru, Save the Children, Action for Children and Children in Wales. The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has also welcomed the move to change the law.
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan said:
In my view, changing the law around reasonable punishment is fundamental in a country that believes in children’s rights.
It’s time for Wales to join more than 55 other nations across the world, including Scotland, to end the physical punishment of children. This law will bring clarity for parents, professionals and children that physically punishing a child is not acceptable in Wales.