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Mid Wales MP wants 19th Century child neglect law changes

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A mid Wales MP is bidding to change child neglect laws that date back to the 19th Century, which he claims are now “nonsense”.

Ceredigion MP Mark Williams wants criminal legislation based on 1868 poor laws to be updated to include emotional and psychological abuse.

The original law – last changed in 1933, only refers to “wilful” physical abuse.

The Liberal Democrat MP is bringing forward a private bill in July.

The MP said he has heard harrowing evidence of how emotional abuse can affect children – yet it remains lawful.

“Like the boy who was refused any form of affection, persistently criticised and told he was hated,” said Mr Williams.

“He regularly wet his bed and it was left, uncleaned, until maggots were found in the mattress.

“This isn’t considered a crime in the UK today. This has to change.”

The original law was introduced as part of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1868, and then incorporated into the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

It was brought into force following a series of cases involving a religious sect known as the Peculiar People, who refused to offer medical assistance to their children, instead relying on the power of prayer to heal.

See the full article on the BBC’s website here