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Ending physical punishment in Wales





Explore Play Wales

A Welsh Government update on the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment (Wales) Act 2020

21 March 2022 will be a historic moment for children and their rights in Wales. From this day on, physically punishing children will be illegal.

The Welsh Government wants to protect children and their rights, to help give them the best start in life.

What is physical punishment?

There are lots of types of physical punishment. It can mean smacking, hitting, slapping and shaking. But there are other types too. It isn’t possible to give a set list of what makes up physical punishment because it can be anything where a child is punished using physical force.

Research suggests that any type of physical punishment could be harmful to children.

What does the change in law mean?

  • All physical punishment will be illegal in Wales.
  • It will give children the same protection from assault as adults.
  • It will make the law clearer – making it easier for children, parents, professionals and the public to understand.

Will the change in law apply to everybody in Wales?

Yes, it will apply to everyone – parents or anyone who is responsible for a child while the parents are absent. And as with other laws, it will apply to visitors to Wales too.

Physical punishment is already illegal in schools, children’s homes, local authority foster care homes and childcare settings.

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More information about further resources

More information about the act

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