Equal Protection in Wales: Stage 1 report published

Date: 14th August 2019
Category: Basic Health and Welfare, Equal protection from violence

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The Bill, which seeks to end the physical punishment of children in Wales, has attracted the support of police, social workers, teachers and organisations. However, some parents and church groups have opposed it.

Consultation responses

In total 650 responses were received. The report shows a clear difference of opinion between responses from individuals, compared to responses from organisations and professionals:

  • Individuals: accounted for the vast majority of responses (562 out of 650). The majority of responses from individuals did not support the Bill (67.8%). Many of these responses cited state interference in family life, that the current law was adequate to prevent abuse, and that changing the law would criminalise “loving” parents.
  • Organisations: accounted for 59 out of 650 responses in total. The majority of organisations did support the Bill (88.1%). However, some organisations such as church and parents groups opposed it.
  • Professionals: accounted for 29 out of 650 responses in total. The majority of professionals did support the Bill (86.2%)

Taking all three categories together, the final figures showed:

  • 60% of respondents did not support the Bill
  • 6% supported the Bill
  • 1% partly in support
  • 3% no view

As part of Stage 1, the Welsh Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee had invited views from members of the Welsh Youth Parliament (MWYPs). The results of secret ballots showed that the majority (70%) of MWYPs supported the Bill.

Recommendations

The Stage 1 report then sets out a series of recommendations, including:

  • that the National Assembly agree the general principles of the Bill;
  • that there is a wide-ranging campaign to raise awareness about any new law;
  • that more support for parents should be provided so that they do not have to resort to smacking;
  • developing guidance for police forces in Wales about recording information relating to allegations of child physical punishment.

Read the Stage 1 report here.