John Finnie, a Green Party member of the Scottish Parliament introduced a Bill (Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill) on 6 September 2018.
This Bill seeks to remove the common law defence of reasonable chastisement in Scotland which permits parents and guardians (primarily) to use smacking as a punishment in relation to children in their care.
The main objective of the Bill was expressed in its accompanying Explanatory Notes:
“A person charged with assault of a child will no longer be entitled to claim that a use of physical force was justifiable on the basis that it was physical punishment administered in exercise of a parental right (or a right derived from having care or charge of a child). This will give children the same protection from assault as adults.”
This week (beginning 30 September 2019), Mr Fannie’s Bill passed Stage 3 of the legislative process in the Scottish Parliament. The Bill will shortly receive the Royal Assent (a mere formality) thus becoming the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019.
An info graphic showing that the Bill has now passed Stage 3 of the legislative process in the Scottish Parliament can be found below:
As a result of the passing of this Bill into law, Scotland will follow 54 other countries from around the world where the physical chastisement of children is now the criminal offence of assault.
A link to how the passing of the Bill was reported by The Guardian can be found below:
Copyright Seán J Crossan, 4 October 2019