A new law banning parents from physically punishing their children has been introduced in Wales.
The new legislation, which was announced on Monday,is about being signed into law as the Welsh government introduced the bill to the national assembly.
If passed, the children (Wales) bill will make Wales become the first country in the UK to stop fathers, mothers and other adults acting in a parental capacity from smacking children to punish them.
The government-led bill seeks to remove the common law defence of reasonable punishment, which is currently available to parental figures if accused of assault or battery against a child.
When passed also, the bill would act as the first divergence of core criminal law between Wales and England, where parents would still be able to legally physically punish a child as long as it is deemed “reasonable”.
The bill, however, would not prevent a parent from grabbing a child about to step out onto a busy road or brushing a child’s hair against his or her will.
“We are sending a clear message that the physical punishment of children is not acceptable in Wales,” Julie Morgan, Wales’ deputy minister for health and social services, said.
“What may have been deemed as appropriate in the past is no longer acceptable. Our children must feel safe and be treated with dignity. The legislation will be accompanied by an awareness-raising campaign and support for parents.”
No date has been fixed for the new legislation to come into place.
But the bill is expected to be scrutinised by assembly members (AMs), with Welsh government sources confident it will be passed by the national assembly and brought into law after achieving Royal Assent by Spring 2020.
The Welsh government further disclosed that the legislation will be accompanied by an awareness-raising campaign and support for parents.