Welsh Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams has tabled a private member’s bill which would extend the current legal definition of child neglect to include emotional abuse.
Currently, the legal definition of child neglect includes only physical harm only.
The Ceredigion MP said:
“Experts suggest psychological neglect is the most destructive form of abuse, yet the police are powerless to intervene.”
Constant humiliation and similar behaviour would be subject to prosecution under the proposed changes. The wording of the bill was prepared by charity Action for Children. Head of campaigns Matthew Downie said:
“Action for Children has long been leading the campaign to update the law on child neglect. The criminal law on child neglect is only appropriate for use in the most severe cases of child neglect, where all efforts have been made to help parents and carers make changes and to keep families together. Sadly however, we know that in a small number of cases there are parents who intend to harm their children – and the current law fails to protect children from the full range of that harm.”
The bill is due for debate in parliament on 12 July, Children & Young People Now reports.