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Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020

The Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 abolishes the defence of reasonable punishment in relation to corporal punishment of a child which takes place in Wales, whether inflicted by people who live in Wales or by visitors to Wales. 

This means that all physical punishment of children is now illegal in Wales, including by parents, carers or anyone acting in loco parentis, in any setting. It gives children the same legal protection from assault as adults and removes the confusion that previously existed as to what constituted a ‘reasonable’ level of physical punishment.

Further information is available in this Bill Summary which was produced by the Senedd, and the Explanatory Notes to the Act provide detailed commentary on the various provisions.

Coming into force:

Sections 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 came into force on 21 March 2020, which was the day after the Act received Royal Assent, in accordance with section 5(1). Section 1 came into force on 21 March 2022 (i.e. at the expiry of the period of 2 years beginning with the day after the day on which this Act received Royal Assent), in accordance with section 5(2).

Subordinate legislation made under the Act:

No subordinate legislation has been made under this Act.

Consideration of the legislation by the Senedd: 

The Bill was introduced by Julie Morgan MS, (the then) Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services on 25 March 2019 and passed by Senedd Cymru (the then National Assembly for Wales) on 28 January 2020.

More information about the Bill is available on the Senedd’s website, including a record of the passage of the Bill through the Senedd and the Explanatory Memorandum that was prepared by the Welsh Government, as revised after Stage 2.

The Act received Royal Assent on 20 March 2020.

Related articles and information:

Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020: circular ( (This circular includes links to a range of other useful information.)


Published on
Last updated
03 August 2023