Scotland looks set to become the first UK region to ban parents from smacking their children.
Labour, the SNP and Green MSPs have pledged support for John Finnie MSP’s plans to protect children from “justifiable assault”.
Under the Criminal Justic (Scotland) Act 2003, Scottish law prohibits parents from shaking their child, striking their head and from using an “implement” during punishment.
MSPs aren’t expected to vote on a smacking ban until 2018, but already it’s gained huge support and opposition at either side of the argument.
Children’s charities, the Law Society of Scotland and the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, while parents are nervously shuffling from one foot to the other in fear of being legally branded a terrible parent.
However, the move would bring Scotland in line with the majority of Europe, including France, Germany, Norway and the Republic of Ireland, but leaving the rest of the UK behnd to consider their own stance on smacking.
After bringing forward the member bill, Mr Finnie said:
“It is especially welcome that the Scottish Government has reiterated its support for my bill because there is clear evidence that the use of physical punishment is detrimental to children’s long term health and wellbeing.
“Giving children equal protection against assault will send a clear message to all of us about how we treat each other and underpin Scotland’s efforts to reduce violence.”
Defending current legislation, a spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives said: “In general terms we believe the current legislation which permits reasonable chastisement has worked well and that remains our current position.”
Parents in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are permitted to discipline children with smacking so long as it falls under “reasonable chastisement” and it doesn’t leave a mark, bruise, cut or graze.