Posted: Tue 21st Mar 2023

One year since landmark “smacking ban” introduced in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Mar 21st, 2023

It has been one year since landmark legislation banning the physical punishment of children in Wales was introduced. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

On March 21 2022 Wales became one more than 60 nations across the world to introduce a “smacking ban”, giving children the same protection from assault as adults.​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Under the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 all types of physical punishment, such as smacking, hitting, slapping, and shaking illegal. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The law applies to all residents and visitors to Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A Welsh Government survey of views from early 2022 – just before the law came into force – found that 62 per cent of people disagreed that it was sometimes necessary to smack a child compared to 53 per cent of people surveyed in 2021. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The figure is higher for parents and carers of children aged seven and under at 71 per cent. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The report also found that since 2018 there had been an increase in the level of awareness and support for the law, with 59 per cent of respondents reporting they were in favour of the law change compared to 38 per cent in 2018. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The landmark legislation was welcomed by a number of children’s charities, including NSPCC Wales which had long campaigned for the change. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A new YouGov poll – commissioned by the NSPCC to mark the one-year anniversary in Wales – has revealed that for a second year in a row two thirds of people (67 per cent) across England think physically disciplining a child isn’t acceptable. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Of those who expressed an opinion 63 per cent believe that a change of law to end physical punishment should be passed in England. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In fact, three in five (60%) thought it was already illegal to physically punish a child. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

NSPCC Cymru Assistant Director Tracey Holdsworth said: “It is encouraging to see how public attitudes towards the physical punishment of children are shifting in Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Findings from early 2022 show that in Wales, almost two thirds of people disagree with the physical punishment of children, and there is now also a solid majority who hold a similar view in England. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“As we now mark one year since the new law came into effect in Wales, we hope even more people will come to the conclusion that children deserve the same protection from assault as given to adults.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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