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New figures reveal changing attitudes towards physical punishment of children

09 Feb 2023 3 minute read
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New data published by the Welsh Government has revealed a change in the public attitude to physically punishing children.

The figures published today (9 February) provides a snapshot of views from early 2022, just before the law making physical punishment of children illegal in Wales, came into force.

According to the research, 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.


Welcoming the findings, 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.”

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 five prosecutions.

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.

Full details of Public Attitudes to Physical Punishment of Children: Wave 4 and 5 surveys, can be found here…..

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