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Scotland becomes first UK country to ban smacking children

Smacking children has been banned in Scotland through new legislation which has been introduced.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 removes the outdated defence of “reasonable chastisement” from the physical assault of children, giving them the same legal protections everyone else already has.

Children’s Minister Maree Todd said: “This outdated defence has no place in a modern Scotland. It can never be reasonable to strike a child. The removal of this defence reaffirms that we want this country to be the best place in the world for children to grow up so that they feel loved, safe, respected and can realise their full potential.

“We have worked in partnership with organisations including children’s charities, Social Work Scotland and Police Scotland on implementation of this Act. As part of this, we will continue to promote positive parenting and build on the support we already offer to children and families,” she added.

The legislation, brought forward by John Finnie MSP and supported by Scottish Ministers, was passed by the Scottish Parliament.

In Wales, the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill received Royal Assent and became the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 in March this year. The law will come into force on Monday 21st March 2022 and will also end the physical punishment of children in Wales, and help protect their rights.

The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan, who has led on the Bill, said: “There is no reason to ever hit a child - that may have been deemed appropriate in the past but it is no longer acceptable. Our children deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity as adults.

“Although unfortunately the sealing of the Bill was held behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we are proud to have taken this historic step to help protect children and their rights,” she added.




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