Commissioner renews call for equal protection

Date: 2nd May 2017
Category: Equal protection from violence

Tam Baillie has renewed calls for the Scottish Government to bring an end to legislation allowing a defence of justifiable assault against children.

The outgoing Children and Young People's Commissioner has said his greatest regret about his tenure was that this area had not seen legislative change.

In many countries - including most of Europe - children have the same legal protections against violence as adults do. This is not currently the case in Scotland.

The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 allows the defence of justifiable assault against children. This exists where it is claimed an act against a child was a physical punishment carried out while exercising a parental right.

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, the Commissioner said:

"We are now absolutely in the minority of countries in Europe on this. The Scottish Government have an ambition for Scotland to be the best country in the world to bring up children. How can we claim that as long as we maintain this tradition of physical punishment?"