Child smacking legislation receives wide support

Child smacking legislation receives wide support

Numerous organisations including the Law Society of Scotland have welcomed the child smacking legislation currently under consideration at Holyrood.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill would abolish the defence of reasonable chastisement in Scots law.

The Law Society commented favourably on the bill, stating in its submission to the Parliament’s Justice Committee: “Scotland would be seen by this change to embrace children and young persons as citizens in their own right.

“It would bring Scots law into line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on this issue and address concerns expressed by the UN Human Rights Committee which stated that: ‘The State party should take practical steps, including through legislative measures where appropriate, to put an end to corporeal punishment in all settings, including the home….’ Scotland would be joining a number of other countries which fully protect children from physical punishment (understood to comprise 10 per cent of the world’s children).”

NSPCC Scotland’s Joanna Barrett said: “It’s wrong that children in Scotland have less protection from assault and that a legal defence which does not exist when an adult is hit can be used to justify striking a child.

“We have long campaigned for equal protection for children and we strongly believe a change in the law is a common-sense move. Closing this loophole brings Scotland in line with dozens of countries across the world and is simply about fairness and equality for our children.”

Writing for Scottish Legal News, Gordon Lindhurst MSP took a sceptical look at the legislation while his colleague Liam Kerr MSP explained why he supports the bill.

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