Empowering children and young people through poetry

Published Mon 21 Mar 2022 - By Literature Wales
Empowering children and young people through poetry
From today, Monday 21 March, physically punishing children will be illegal in Wales as Welsh Government continues to put children’s rights at the heart of its policies.

Wales joins more than 60 nations across the world to end the physical punishment of children. This landmark legislation removes the archaic 160-year-old legal defence and provides children the same protection from assault as adults.

Under the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 all types of physical punishment, such as smacking, hitting, slapping and shaking, are illegal. The new law will apply to everybody in Wales, including visitors, from 21 March 2022.

To mark the historical moment for children and their rights in Wales, Children’s Laureate Wales, Connor Allen, and Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh language children’s poet laureate), Casi Wyn, were commissioned to compose poems for the occasion. The poems, published today on UNESCO’s World Poetry Day, have been written to celebrate children’s rights.

Both the Children’s Laureate Wales and Bardd Plant Cymru are national ambassadorial roles which aim to inspire and empower children and young people across Wales through literature. The poets are committed to empower children and young people through creativity and championing their voices nationally and internationally.

Welcoming the Act coming into force at a Toddler Takeover event at Techniquest, The Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan said:

“Today is a historic moment for children and their rights in Wales as we make physically punishing children a thing of the past. I have campaigned to make physical punishment illegal for more than 20 years. I am thrilled that from today children finally have the same protection from assault as adults.

“The law is now clear – easier for children, parents, professionals and the public to understand. Physical punishment is illegal in Wales and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.”

“We want to protect children and their rights and this law will add to the fantastic work we are doing to make sure all children in Wales have the best start in life and to live the lives they want to live.”

The First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford said:

“This is an historic day for children and children’s rights – at long last the physical   punishment of children is now illegal in Wales.

“Children have the right to be protected from harm and from being hurt. This is now enshrined in Welsh law. There are no more grey areas and there will no longer be a defence of ‘reasonable’ punishment.

“From today, there really is no place for physical punishment in modern Wales.”

The Children’s Laureate Wales project is run by Literature Wales, whilst the Bardd Plant Cymru project is run by Literature Wales with the support of Welsh Government, S4C, Welsh Books Council and Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

To discover more about the roles, head to the Our Projects page.