Matt Downie, from the charity Action for Children, says it's important to dispel fears that parents or guardians could be criminalised for occasional less-than-perfect parenting.
"Scapegoating, humiliation, consistent rejection, children being forced to witness domestic violence... these things are not just bad parenting. They're cruelty," he told ITV News.
It comes as calls are made for the emotional neglect of children to be made a criminal offence.
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Former rugby star Ian Gough has won an assault appeal against former Miss Wales and ex-girlfriend Sophia Cahill.