Monday, July 22, 2019
Home News The law banning bans announced in Wales

The law banning bans announced in Wales

In Wales, new legislation was passed that would prevent adults from beating their children.

The Welsh Government seeks to remove the common law defense of an appropriate punishment currently available to parents when they are charged with assault or battery against a child.

If the Law on Children (Wales) were passed, it would act as the first departure of core criminal law between Wales and England, with parents still able to physically punish a child as long as it is considered "reasonable".

The government-led bill is supported by a number of organizations, including the NSPCC, Barnardo's and Action for Children, and is presented in Scotland as a Private Membership Act, which is currently being reviewed by MSPs seeking the defense of "legitimate abuses "in Scots would pick up law.

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Welsh Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Julie Morgan said: "We send a clear message that the physical punishment of children in Wales is unacceptable.

"What was considered appropriate in the past is no longer acceptable. Our children need to feel safe and treated with dignity.

"As one of the most progressive nations in the world when it comes to promoting children's rights, I am proud that this Welsh Government passes laws to end the physical punishment of children in Wales and to further protect children's rights."

The bill is now being reviewed by AMs. The Welsh government expects it to be passed by the National Assembly and put into effect in spring 2020 following royal approval.

The government says legislation is being accompanied by a sensitization campaign and support for parents.

Studies published last year found that 81% of infants' parents in Wales did not believe that "sometimes a naughty child needs to be beaten," compared to only 11% of parents in the 2017 Parental Attitudes Towards Managing Young Children Behavior poll With young children saying they had done so in the past six months, their children had been beaten.

The legal defense of "reasonable punishment" has been in legal use since 1860 and is currently available in England and Wales for parents or adults who are acting in loco parentis against joint attacks.

The most recent available figures show that between 2005 and 2007 twelve times the use of the defense resulted in acquittal of a defendant or cessation of proceedings against them in England and Wales.

Wales would join the 54 countries around the world who have already banned the physical punishment of children, including Greece, Latvia, Albania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya, with Sweden becoming the first country in 1979.

Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, said, "If a parent shakes hands with a defenseless child, be it a blow, a beat, or other physically harmful behavior, they lose control.

"Research shows us that children who are physically punished are more likely to have worse mental health and physical well-being. As they grow up, they tend to be destructive or antisocial to themselves. It is unacceptable to hurt a child and is a form of child abuse. "

However, the plans were criticized by the Be Reasonable campaign group, supported by the Christian Institute and the Family Education Trust, who said the legislation would criminalize parents.

Spokeswoman Lowri Turner said: "It is disappointing that the Welsh Government has decided to continue this unnecessary legislation that will do nothing to protect children, but will criminalize loving parents.

"As we have seen from a plethora of Freedom of Information requests, parents have been suspected of suspecting face suspensions, police and social services investigations, and law enforcement."



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