Smacking ban edges closer to law


Wide support for legislation 

7th September 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A bill banning smacking children is published today.

Green MSP John Finnie lodged the bill which looks certain to pass.

Finnie introduced the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) bill after gaining the backing of the Scottish Government and MSPs from all political parties.

A consultation run over the summer won support from Rape Crisis Scotland, Barnardo's Scotland, the Equality and Human Rights Commission as well as the Royal College of Paediatrics.

A ban would make Scotland the first country in the UK to outlaw the physical punishment of children.

At present, parents in Scotland can claim a defence of "justifiable assault" when punishing their children.

Mary Glasgow, chief executive of Children 1st, said the bill would address laws that allow “the smallest, most vulnerable members of our society, less protection from physical harm than anybody else."

Bruce Adamson, Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner, also backed the legislation.

“We should never consider the assault of a child for the purposes of punishment to be justifiable,” he said. “Scotland is one of the last countries in Europe to amend its law to protect children, and I welcome the fact that we now have broad political support for the change.”

Finnie said: "Substantial academic research from around the world shows that physical punishment does not work and is shown to be counterproductive. My bill aims to support parents to make positive choices.

"The bill will not change the way that police and social work deal with assault against children. Rather it establishes the principle that assault can never be 'justifiable'."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed the bill in her programme for government speech on Tuesday.