Scottish charities call for smacking ban

Date: 17th July 2012
Category: Equal protection from violence, General measures of implementation

A group of children's charities has called for a ban on smacking youngsters to be introduced to Scotland.

The Children are Unbeatable coalition said young people should have the same protection from assault as adults.

In 2002, the Labour/Lib Dem government dropped plans for a ban, after they were deemed unworkable.

The Scottish government said a consultation on proposals for the Children and Young People's Bill was currently under way.

A spokesman added: "We would encourage as many people and organisations as possible to take part and submit their views.

"It is already illegal to physically punish children by shaking them or hitting them with any implement."

The Scottish government said its bill would not go through parliament until some unspecified time in the new year.

Currently, foster carers, teachers and others who work with children are prohibited from using physical punishment such as smacking, but parents are not.

Parents are banned from serious assaulting children, but anything else is considered "reasonable chastisement".

But Alison Todd, of Children are Unbeatable, youngsters did not have enough protection.

"This is not about political correctness," she said, adding: "This is about children and young people suffering violence in our country and we need to do something that tightens it up so that it can't happen."

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council argued there was no case for a law to criminalise parents, adding: "It is not about whether or not you should be able to smack your child - this is about whether or not you should have a law against it."

Welsh Assembly members have voted in favour of a smacking ban, although ministers have ruled out such a move in the current term.‬