From today, 7th of November 2020, children in Scotland will have the same rights to protection from violence as adults.
The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 – bans smacking as a means of punishing children.
Commenting, Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People in the Scottish Governmetn said:
“I’m very pleased that Scotland has become the first part of the UK to legislate to ensure that children, without exception, have the same protection from assault as adults.
“This outdated defence has no place in a modern Scotland. It can never be reasonable to strike a child. The removal of this defence reaffirms that we want this country to be the best place in the world for children to grow up so that they feel loved, safe, respected and can realise their full potential.
“We have worked in partnership with organisations including children’s charities, Social Work Scotland and Police Scotland on implementation of this Act. As part of this, we will continue to promote positive parenting and build on the support we already offer to children and families.”
The legislation, making Scotland the first nation in the UK to ensure children have the same rights as adults was introduced to the Scottish Parliament by Scottish Green MSP John Finnie.
John Finnie said:
“I am extremely proud to have taken a Bill through parliament that will have such a positive effect on the lives of Scotland’s children. I am also pleased that the Scottish Government is already looking to build on this work by seeking to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law.
“As I have progressed my campaign over the last four years it has been noticeable just how many people believed that striking a child was already outlawed. I am pleased that this will now be the case.
“Physical punishment has no place in 21st century Scotland. All the international evidence suggests using physical punishment is ineffective, and it can have serious negative impacts on children. I have no doubt that future generations will look back in bemusement that we allowed our most vulnerable citizens to be treated in this manner.
“As a society we teach that violence is unacceptable, and the best way to impart that message onto future generations is to ensure that they are not exposed to it. This legislation outlaws the last ‘acceptable’ form of violence and I believe that is a positive step for Scotland to take.
“Parents and carers need ongoing support and advice from government about how this change of law will affect them, so it’s vital that the Scottish Ministers continue to promote public awareness and understanding of this new law and make clear where that support can be found.”