Published: 16/05/2017 17:00 - Updated: 16/05/2017 14:07

Smacking ban bill launched by Highlands MSP

Written byBy Helen Aird

Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie.
Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie.

HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP John Finnie has launched a consultation on plans to ban smacking in Scotland.

The Green politician has lodged a member’s bill, which would see children given equal protection from assault by prohibiting the physical punishment of children by parents.

The UK is one of only four countries in the EU that allows physical punishment of children.

The proposed bill has the support of children’s charities and other organisations including the NSPCC, Children 1st, Barnardo’s, the Church of Scotland and the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents.

The public now have an opportunity to have their say on the issue, with the consultation running until August 4.

Mr Finnie said he was eager to hear people’s views.

“We all want our children to be happy, healthy and to give them the very best start in life. Yet in 2017, we still afford children less protection from assault than adults,” he said. “It is an anomaly within Scots Law which should now be remedied.

“Attitudes in Scotland towards physical punishment are changing. Today the majority of parents in Scotland don’t like physical punishment and they don’t think it works.

“Put simply, physical punishment just does not work. Our current law, which allows for physical punishment of children to be justified in some circumstances, is out of step. It is out of step with families, out of step with ambitions and out of step with our obligations under international law.

“I am proud that one of the most notable achievements of the Scottish Parliament has been a collective, cross-party recognition of the importance of taking a preventative approach to keep children safe from harm and to give them the best start in life.

“That’s why I’m launching this consultation to outline proposals for a Bill to provide children with equal protection from assault. If – and when – we do so, then I believe that Scotland really can take its place among the most progressive and socially just nations of the world.

For details on how to respond to the consultation, and view the bill, visit the Scottish Parliament website at http:/www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/bills.aspx

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