Scotland has become the first part of the UK to ban smacking children, meaning any parents found guilty of hitting their kids as a way of disciplining them, will face criminal charges.
The Bill was passed at the Scottish Government on Thursday, October 3, 2019, after Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie claimed “Physical punishment has no place in 21st century”.
MSPs voted to criminalize parents using physical punishment on their children by 84 votes to 29 after a bill was introduced by Scottish panel.
Parents and guardians are currently allowed to use ‘reasonable’ physical force to discipline children but this will change under the new legislation.
The new law is aimed at giving minors the same protection from assault as adults, as well as bringing Scotland in line with United Nations recommendations.
Mr Finnie said smacking teaches children that “might is right”, and that the ban would “send a strong message that violence is never acceptable in any setting”.
He also said there was “irrefutable” evidence that physical punishment damages children, is not an effective form of discipline and can escalate into physical abuse.
The ban was opposed by the Scottish Conservatives, who claimed the bill was bad legislation that risks criminalizing “good parents” for using “reasonable chastisement”.
But the Scottish government’s children’s minister, Maree Todd, insisted that “loving parents” would not be criminalized.
Sweden became the first country in the world to ban smacking in the home when it outlawed corporal punishment in 1979 – with Scotland becoming the 58th to do so.