MONDAY, March 21 2022, is a historic day for children in Wales as a new law comes into force meaning that all physical punishment to children will be illegal. 

From this day on, all children will have the same protection from assault as adults. Anyone, who physically punishes a child will be breaking the law in Wales and will be at risk of being arrested or charged with assault.

In January 2020 the Senedd passed the Welsh Government’s Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 which aims to help protect children’s rights and give all children in Wales the best start in life. 

The change in law does not create a new offence: it removes a 160-year old legal defence which sent the message that it was acceptable for children to be physically punished by their parents or those with parental authority.

Physical punishment is when you use physical force to punish a child. While smacking is what usually comes to mind, physical punishment can take many forms including hitting, slapping and shaking. 

Gail Nolan, Family Worker, Team Teulu said: “We want to make sure all parents in Ceredigion are aware that the law is changing on 21 March and that physical punishment of children will be illegal. We will be visiting a number of venues across the county in the coming months to raise awareness of the change in the law.”

Councillor Catherine Hughes is the Cabinet Member for Porth Ceredigion, Early Intervention, Wellbeing Hubs and Culture. She said, “This change is very important to families and children across Wales. The law change will help protect children’s rights and send a clear signal that physically punishing children is not tolerated in Wales.”

If you are concerned about the safety or well-being of a child please contact Social Services on 01545 574000 during office hours or 0300 456 3554 out of hours. If the child is in any immediate danger contact Dyfed-Powys Police. 

Further information about the law change can be found on Welsh Government’s website: gov.wales/ending-physical-punishment-children

If you would like to get in touch, contact our Customer Services Contact Centre on 01545 570 881 or by email on clic@ceredigion.gov.uk