21 March 2022 is a historic moment for children’s rights in Wales. From this day on, all types of physical punishment will be illegal thanks to new Welsh Government legislation. The Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 will remove an archaic legal defence by outlawing the physical punishment of children when it comes into force in Wales on 21 March 2022.
To kickstart the nationwide public awareness campaign, an Ending Physical Punishment advertising van will visit key tourism destinations across Wales. Visiting over 40 locations over the school summer holidays, the van is designed to raise awareness of the forthcoming change in the law as the new Welsh legislation will apply equally to residents of Wales and those visiting from outside the country.
The van tour of Wales’ holiday hot-spots is the first phase of outdoor advertising in advance of the nationwide campaign launch which takes place in September with the roll out of television and radio advertising.
Julie Morgan, MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services, said, “Wales will soon join over 60 nations across the world who have outlawed the use of physical punishment towards children. The nationwide awareness campaign in support of this important legislation will tour key summer tourism destinations across Wales, along with other advertising that people may see when they are out and about. We want to help ensure anybody who lives in, or visits Wales, is made aware of the law before it comes into force on 21 March 2022.
“The passing of the legislation ensures Wales meets its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by prohibiting the physical punishment of children in Wales. Children in Wales will now have the same legal protection from common assault as an adult for the first time. In tandem with the legislation we are also providing additional support through our Parenting. Give it time resources for parents and carers looking for alternatives to physical punishment when it comes to disciplining children in their care.”
Sally Holland, The Children’s Commissioner for Wales, added, “This is landmark legislation for children’s rights in Wales. I wholeheartedly support the introduction of this legislation as there is no room for physical punishment in Wales or the long-term trauma caused to children as a result of it.
“I’m pleased to see Welsh Government investing in raising awareness of this new law and promoting positive parenting techniques, to ensure people living in and visiting Wales know that physical punishment simply does not work as a means of disciplining children.”
Jonathan Griffiths, President of the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru, said, “This may be a difficult subject for many to broach, but having the van visiting a number of holiday locations across Wales is a great way to get people, whether living here or just visiting, to start thinking about the issue of physical punishment of children, and to seek out support, if they need it, before the law change.
“Parenting is not easy, but there are effective means of disciplining children out there which do not need to involve the use of physical punishment. We want to work alongside Welsh Government and local safeguarding partners in each region in Wales to ensure all parents and carers are made aware of the law before it comes into force next year.”