The Welsh Government has today (Monday March 21) brought in a new law making it illegal to physically punish a child in Wales.

The new law will see Wales join more than 60 countries around the world in ending the physical punishment of children.

The Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 came into effect on Monday March 21 and will see anyone who physically punishes a child through smacking, hitting slapping, shaking or other physical assault, risk being arrested and charged with assault.

This law will apply to everyone in Wales, including visitors, and removes a 160-year-old legal defence for parents of reasonable punishment and provides children the same protection from assault as adults.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I am delighted the physical punishment of children is now illegal in Wales. This is a historic achievement for children and their rights.

“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child makes it clear that children have the right to be protected from harm and from being hurt and this includes physical punishment. That right is now enshrined in Welsh law. No more grey areas. No more ‘defence of reasonable punishment.’ That is all in the past. There is no place for physical punishment in a modern Wales.”

Following the announcement of the new law, Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert said:

“It is time that children in Wales were given the same protection from physical punishment as adults, bringing us in line with several countries across the world by giving children equal protection in law.

“We will continue to work with Welsh Government to ensure that education and guidance is provided to parents.”