New legislation which will remove the ‘defence of reasonable punishment’ in Wales welcomed

New legislation which will remove the ‘defence of reasonable punishment’ in Wales welcomed

Welsh Women’s Aid welcomes the legislation, laid today in the National Assembly for Wales for the removal of the ‘defence of reasonable punishment’, ensuring that more children are protected against “reasonable chastisement.”

As part of the Children Are Unbeatable Alliance in Wales, Welsh Women’s Aid has been campaigning for the removal of reasonable chastisement defence for many years. For this reason we are very happy today to see that this outdated law will finally be changed.

Welsh Women’s Aid’s primary goal is to ensure children are protected against any and all forms of violence in the home, and to reinforce good practice and guidelines in order to raise awareness of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

One of our specialist member services stated recently:

“Children do not need to be hit or physically punished. We have laws which protect adults from this so why are children treated differently?”

As the national organisation in Wales working to end all forms of violence against women and girls, we know that any kind of violence or abuse in the home can significantly affect a child’s wellbeing and access to their rights. We also understand that all physical chastisement can carry the risk of escalating into serious assault.[1]

Welsh Women’s Aid believes that the removal of the defence of reasonable punishment will help educate and inform children and young people to understand that physical abuse is not ok. By removing this we are more likely to create an understanding in the next generation that violence from one human to another is not acceptable.

[1] 5 Equally Protected? A review of the evidence on the physical punishment of children,, NSPCC 2015.