Campaigners call for an end to physical punishment of children

Smacking group

Children 1st supporters Aimee, Sophie and Maggie Farrell encourage people in Paisley to support end to physical punishment

A bill which will end the "justifiable assault" of children in Scotland is reaching its final stages

2nd September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Campaigners have made a final push in their fight to end physical punishment of children.

Supporters from Children 1st took part in a national day of action on Saturday (31 August) to encourage families across the country to show support for legal reform to end physical punishment of children.

The supporters were out on the streets of Ayr, Barrhead, Dundee, Edinburgh, Galashiels, Glasgow, Musselburgh and Paisley asking families to sign a petition to show their support for John Finnie MSP’s Children (Equal Protection from Assault) Bill as the Scottish Parliament returns from summer recess.

By removing the legal defence of “justifiable assault” from Scottish Law, the bill, which is in its final stage at Holyrood, will end physical punishment, giving children the same protection from assault as adults.

Anita Roweth, from Children 1st Dundee, said: “I’m here today because I think it’s ridiculous that children have less protection from violence in law than adults.  It’s been lovely to hear so many families in Dundee say they are right behind our campaign to end physical punishment. Many of them were surprised that the law hadn’t changed already, which shows just how out of touch the current law is.”

Co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie MSP, said: “With 54 countries already taking action on the physical punishment of children, it’s time for Scotland to look at the scientific evidence and show the courage required to give our children equal protection from assault.

“With cross-party support for John Finnie’s bill in the Scottish Parliament, and from so many organisations including Children 1st, I’m confident we can do it.”

Mary Glasgow, chief executive of Children 1st, said: “It’s great to see so much support from families as this vital legal reform reaches its final stage.  All the evidence shows that physical punishment doesn’t work and can cause harm – and politicians at Holyrood have clearly heard that there is no longer any place in Scotland for it.

“Giving children the same protection from assault as adults is simple common sense and will enable Scotland to take its place among the vast majority of European countries who have already changed the law.”