HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP John Finnie has welcomed the support of the Scottish Government for his proposals to ban smacking in Scotland.
Mr Finnie, the Scottish Greens justice spokesman, has proposed a member’s bill to provide children with equal protection from assault.
The government’s support was outlined in its legislative programme for the 2017-18 Scottish Parliamentary session.
Mr Finnie said it came as a welcome boost to the campaign to make Scotland one of the greatest places in the world for children to grow up.
"I welcome the support offered by the Scottish Government for my equal protection proposal," said Mr Finnie who held a public consultation on the proposal earlier this year.
"It is simply unacceptable that we offer the most vulnerable in our society the least protection.
"The ‘justifiable assault’ defence is from a different age and it is vital that we move forward and afford our children the protection they deserve – the protection all adults enjoy - and send a message to the whole of society that we don’t tolerate violence in any setting."
The public consultation revealed an overwhelming response in favour of his propoals from individuals and organisations.
They include professional bodies and children’s and health and social care organisations which have campaigned for a change in the law.
They include Children 1st, NSPCC Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, the Royal College of Paediatricians and the Scottish Police Federation.
Mr Finnie will study the responses to the consultation, with the support of the Scottish Parliament’s non-government bills unit, over the past few weeks and expects to be able to outline his final proposal soon.
Mary Glasgow, acting chief executive of Children 1st, welcomed the government’s support.
"It’s fantastic to see the Scottish Government recognise that all children need the same protection from violence that we enjoy as adults," she said.
"Children 1st have campaigned on this issue for many years as we believe it can make a real difference to the lives of the children and families that we work alongside.
"The current law is out of step with what we now know about child development and the harm physical punishment can do to children, families and society."
She looked forward to continuing working with Mr Finnie, the government and parliament.
Earlier this year, Scotland’s new children’s commissioner Bruce Adamson said the view that it was acceptable for a parent or carer to assault a child for the purpose of physical punishment was untenable in international human rights terms.