Scotland has become the first country in the UK to make smacking illegal, with the physical punishment of those under the age of 16 having now been outlawed.
Prior to this new ruling, parents and carers were permitted to physically discipline children under circumstances where this was considered to be ‘reasonable chastisement’.
However, children will be offered the same protection from assault as adults under this new law, with the ‘justifiable assault’ defence no longer holding up.
I’m very pleased that Scotland has become the first part of the UK to legislate to ensure that children, without exception, have the same protection from assault as adults.
This outdated defence has no place in a modern Scotland. It can never be reasonable to strike a child.
Meanwhile, Joanna Barrett from NSPCC Scotland has given the following statement:
This law sets out in clear terms that physical punishment should no longer be part of childhood in Scotland and it marks a momentous step in making it a country where children’s rights are truly recognised, respected and fulfilled.
The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 doesn’t introduce a new offence, instead removing a defence to the existing offence of assault.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111.