Ending Physical Punishment in Wales

Protecting Children and their rights allows them to have the best start in life. Physically punishing children is illegal in Wales and this law applies to everyone and includes anyone who has responsibility for a child while the parent is absent. It marks a historic moment for children and their rights, Ending Physical Punishment On the 21st of March 2022.

What is Physical Punishment?

Physical punishment is when physical force has been used to punish a child. There are different types, and some examples are hitting, shaking, slapping and smacking.

Physical punishment can hurt a child, make them feel sadness, anger, confusion and fear. Children will then believe it’s acceptable to be violent to others.

What’s the Law on Physical Punishment in Wales?

  • Physical Punishment is illegal in Wales
  • Children have the same rights and protection as adults
  • Brings clarity, as children have the same right as adults and it’s now clear for children, parents, public and professionals to understand.

Can I Still Discipline My Child?

Yes, discipline is an essential part of good parenting, it’s about providing boundaries and supporting your child to learn appropriate behaviour. Physical punishment isn’t necessary, and it doesn’t help children learn about having self-control and what is acceptable behaviour.

What Happens if Someone Physically Punishes the Child?

They will be breaking the law

Risk of being charged or arrested with assault

May lead to a criminal record

Who Do I Contact?

If you are concerned about a child or see a child being physically punished, please contact Children Services. Enquiries sometimes don’t need further action, however it’s better to discuss concerns than ignore potential warning signs which may endanger a child.

For more information on what information you require to report a concern and what will happen next, please visit - Reporting a concern about a Child | Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (rctcbc.gov.uk)

You can also report non-emergency crimes via 101 or South Wales Police’s online form

Alternatively in an emergency, you can call the police on 999 if a child is in immediate danger.

Ten Top Tips for Prevention

  1. Develop a routine for children and consider what works for your family.
  2. Ensure you have the right childcare – make sure you trust the person you are leaving your child with.
  3. Take time to praise your child as this works better than punishing them for their behaviour.
  4. Practice model behaviour you want to see. If a child see’s adults shouting and hitting, they will think it’s acceptable.
  5. Be nurturing – all children deserve to be loved and cared for.
  6. Providing discipline correctly using the appropriate behaviour.
  7. Have a strong support network of family and friends you trust.
  8. Have clear family rules which works well for your family.
  9. Connect a feeling to the behaviour e.g “I think you are throwing toys as you’re cross”.
  10. Report suspected child abuse or neglect to your local authority or police in an emergency.
  11. Advice and Support

Please check out our Resilient Families Service for information, help and support.

You can also visit the government website ‘Parenting. Give it time’

Posted on 29/09/2022