Equal Protection consultation - Together's briefing

Date: 10th July 2017
Category: General measures of implementation

Together have written a briefing for members on the consultation that has been launced on a proposed Bill on Equal Protection for children.

The consultation was launched in May 2017 by John Finnie MSP. The proposed Bill aims to give children equal protection from assault by removing the legal defence of "justifiable assault". Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights) has published a briefing that draws from the international and domestic legal perspective, robust international evidence and children's views. It has been written to inform responses to the consultation. We encourage individuals and organisations across all sectors to join us in urging the Scottish Government to protect children from assault. You can do this by responding to John Finnie's consultation using the links below, both as organisations and as individual supporters.

Responses can be as long or short as you like - but must be submitted by 4 August 2017!

Key Messages

  • Children do not enjoy the same legal protection from assault as adults.
    In Scotland, the law does not give children the same protection from assault as it gives to adults.
  • Children and parents consistently talk about the negative impact of physical punishment.
    82% of young people responding to a Scottish Youth Parliament consultation agree that "All physical assault against children should be illegal" and over 80% of parents in Scotland agree that physical punishment is not effective and look to alternative parenting strategies.
  • International evidence of the negative impact of physical punishment is strong and consistent.
    There is strong and consistent evidence that physical punishment has the potential to damage children, risks escalation into physical abuse and is an ineffective way to improve children's behaviour.
  • Failure to legislate contravenes international human rights obligations.
    Law reform to abolish all physical punishment of children is an obligation under international law by both European and United Nations human rights monitoring bodies. The proposed Bill would bring Scotland in line with international standards, as articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and implemented in almost all other European countries.
  • There is widespread support across Scotland for a change in law.
    Among those calling for children to be given equal protection are the Police Violence Reduction Unit, the Church of Scotland, Social Work Scotland, Scottish Police Federation, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and the Scottish Directors of the Public Health Group.