LEGISLATION aimed at banning the smacking of children in Scotland has been published at Holyrood.
Green MSP John Finnie introduced the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill after gaining the backing of the Scottish Government and MSPs from across all the political parties.
If passed, the legislation would remove the defence of “justifiable assault” in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment to admonish a child.
Mr Finnie’s Member’s Bill is also supported by a range of organisations including the Scottish Police Federation, Barnardo’s Scotland, the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland and the NSPCC.
A public consultation last year received more than 650 responses with almost 75% of those in favour of the legislation.
Mr Finnie said: “I am delighted to be formally lodging my Bill to give children equal protection from assault in the Scottish Parliament today.
“Children deserve the same legal protection from assault that adults enjoy, a position that children’s rights organisations and charities have long been arguing.
“Substantial academic research from around the world shows that physical punishment does not work and is shown to be counter-productive. My Bill aims to support parents to make positive choices.
“The Bill will not change the way that police and social work deal with assault against children. Rather it establishes the principle that assault can never be ‘justifiable’.”