Almost two thirds of people disagree with the physical punishment of children
The Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan has welcomed the findings of a survey into how public attitudes towards physically punishing children in Wales have changed since the introduction of new legislation.
Data published today [9th February 2023] provides a snapshot of views from early 2022, just before the law came into force.
This snapshot shows 62% of people disagreed that it was sometimes necessary to smack a child compared to 53% of people surveyed in 2021. The figure is higher for parents/carers of children under the age of seven at 71%.
The report also found that since 2018 there had been an increase in the level of awareness and support people had for The Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act, with 59% of respondents reporting they were in favour of the law change compared to 38% in 2018.
The Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan said:
“As we approach the one-year anniversary of physical punishment becoming illegal in Wales it’s very encouraging to see the change in attitudes amongst parents.
“Times have changed, positive, non-violent parenting is what most parents strive for today. Not only are more people aware that physically punishing a child is illegal in Wales but 62% of people disagreed that it was sometimes necessary to smack a child.
“However, even though the law has changed, and these figures show we’re heading in the right direction, we know we still have work to do – we’re not complacent when it comes to informing and supporting parents. Our focus continues to be positive parenting and I hope to see further positive developments across Wales as more parenting support packages are delivered to parents.”
“Every year that passes following this landmark legislation more and more children and families will see the benefit of the law change and the support it has given children’s rights in Wales.”
Notes to editors
Early data was also published today on the number of people referred by the police to the Out of Court Parenting Support scheme during its first six months of operation. The findings show all 55 referrals to the scheme took up the offer of parenting support, with fewer than 5 prosecutions.
Public Attitudes to Physical Punishment of Children: Wave 4 and 5 surveys, can be found here:
The Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 (the Act) received Royal Assent in March 2020 and after a two-year implementation period, came into force on 21 March 2022. The overarching objective of the legislation is to help protect children’s rights by prohibiting the use of physical punishment against children, through the removal of the defence of reasonable punishment.