SCOTLAND has become the first country in the UK to ban smacking.

The new legislation will effectively give children the same protection from assault as adults and removes the defence of “reasonable chastisement” or “justifiable assault”.

Halstead Gazette:

Brought the Bill - John Finnie

Previously, this meant parents could smack their child on the body but not on the head.

The Bill was brought to Holyrood by Green MSP, and former policeman, John Finnie.

Though he was backed by his colleagues, the Government, Labour and the LibDems, there was no love for the bill from the Scottish Tories.

Scottish Conservative Oliver Mundell There are fears the new law “could unnecessarily criminalise good parents”.

He added: “I believe violence against children is wrong. However, that is not the issue before us today.

“Today we are being asked to pass into law primary legislation that is imprecise and suboptimal.


“I don’t think that it’s foreseeable at all for parents what circumstances they could find themselves entangled with the criminal justice system.”

But MSPs rejected his argument 84 to 29.

Finnie said he was delighted at the “historic and courageous” decision taken by Holyrood.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said: “This historic vote by MSPs is a logical and hugely significant one which gives children their rightful protection in law against assault and the same safeguards as adults.

"The NSPCC has long campaigned for this decision, which brings Scotland into line with dozens of other countries around the world.

“Yet this momentous vote creates a disparity in child protection across the UK. We now urge the governments of the other nations to do the fair and sensible thing and bring about the same changes for children living elsewhere in the UK.”