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The new law would criminalise any parent that physically disciplines their children as the Government attempts to make sure that children “grow up safe, happy and healthy”. Currently, parents and carers are allowed to use “reasonable” physical force in order to discipline children.
But the introduction of the Children (Equal Protection) Act will remove the “reasonable chastisement” defence from November 7th.
It is aimed at giving children the same protection from assault as adults, as well as bringing Scotland into line with United Nations recommendations.
The list of banned actions includes, but is not restricted to, ‘smacking, skelping, slapping and pinching’ and children are encouraged to report this kind of behaviour to a trusted adult.
The leaflets seen by Express.co.uk were obtained by Be Reasonable, a grassroots coalition campaign group of parents, academics, and politicians, and tell kids that physical punishment is “not allowed”.
Both leaflets, are aimed at primary-aged children, with the first titled ‘Physical punishment & you’ stating that “physical punishment will be against the law in Scotland.
“This means it won’t be allowed.”
It adds: “If you’re worried, it can be good to talk. You can talk to an adult that you trust.
“That person might be a teacher. Or a nurse or police officer. Or you can call Childline for free on 0800 1111.”
The second leaflet, titled ‘Physical punishment & you: questions and answers’, highlights that: “Physical punishment has lots of meanings.
“But from 7 November, none of it will be allowed.”
Dr Ashley Frawley, a spokesman for the Be Reasonable campaign claimed the Scottish Government had “done nothing to inform parents about the smacking ban”.
He added: “Ministers have wasted no time in encouraging children to report mums and dads who smack.
“Why does the government have such contempt for parents and carers in Scotland?
“There seems to be a complete lack of trust.
“Children will have no idea that telling on a parent for smacking – or worse making something up – will result in stressful social work and police intervention in the family home.”
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Dr Fawley warned that children could be “questioned by police” separately and “removed from their family” whilst a prosecution is ongoing against their parent or guardian.
He concluded: “There is no evidence that mild physical punishment harms children but bringing this stress into family life will do a great deal of harm indeed.”
Jamie Greene MSP, Scottish Conservatives education spokesman said the SNP should not be encroaching on family life.
He added to Express.co.uk: “Last year, the Scottish Conservatives argued that existing common sense laws were sufficient and that this legislation risked criminalising good parents.
“I abhor violence but these leaflets suggest our concerns about the SNP government encroaching on family life were well-founded.
“This will be a cause for concern for parents across Scotland.”
Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour MSP for Highlands and Islands, added to this website: “There are significant concerns over how the Scottish Government is communicating its message.
“It is important that any child that is receiving physical abuse seeks help and contacts organisations such as ChildLine.
“Keeping children safe should be the priority, not creating an atmosphere of suspicion.”
The bill was first put forward by Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie in 2017 and soon received support from the SNP last year.
Mr Finnie, a former police officer argues that “physical violence has no place in 21st century Scotland”.
Making his case for the bill, he said: “It is staggering that our smallest and most vulnerable citizens are the only people who do not currently have this protection, and now is the time to rectify that.”
Criminalising corporal punishment in the home was first introduced in Sweden in 1979 and has since become a global trend with over 50 countries following suit.
In response, the Scottish Government said they did not expect a large number of prosecutions.
They added: “This important legislation gives children the same legal protections as adults – something backed by an overwhelming majority of public opinion.
“The objective of the guidance is to provide information and advice about the Act and to support families and children with resources such as the Parent Club.
“Based on experience from elsewhere, we do not expect a large number of prosecutions.”
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