Smacking Children To Be Banned In Scotland

It will be the first country in the UK to make the act illegal.

Smacking children will be banned in Scotland, the Scottish government has confirmed today [19 October].

The country will be the first part of the UK to make the physical punishment of children illegal.

According to the BBC, the government has now confirmed it will make sure a bill, lodged by the Green MSP John Finnie, will become law.

Finnie put forward a proposed bill in Scottish parliament in May 2017, which aimed to give children “equal protection from assault”.

Ministers will now work with Finnie to implement the bill.

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“There is clear evidence that the use of physical punishment is detrimental to children’s long-term health and wellbeing,” Finnie previously told the BBC.

“It makes a child’s behaviour worse and can lead to increased conflict between children and parents.”

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is legal for a parent or carer to smack their own child when it amounts to ‘reasonable punishment’, as laid down in section 58 of the Children Act 2004.

Hitting a child in a way which causes wounding, actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm or child cruelty are all illegal. A parent could be charged with common assault if a child is left with injury.

Globally, 52 countries have made the physical punishment of children illegal. Sweden was the first in 1979 and France the most recent country with its ban in 2017. The Republic of Ireland banned smacking in 2015.

In Europe, only four countries - Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the UK - continue to allow the ‘reasonable punishment’ of children.

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