A new law which was passed in an effort to give children the same protection from assault as adults has come into effect in Scotland.
The Scottish parliament outlawed corporal punishment following the removal of the defence of justifiable assault from Scots law, making it the first UK nation to pass that law. It passed the law in 2019 to stop violence against children.
Wales is also expected to introduce a ban on smacking of children in 2022. Many officials have expressed their support for the new law.
The Scottish Green MSP John Finnie, who introduced the changes, said: “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.”
Scotland has become the 58th country to ban the smacking of children. Maree Todd, the children`s minister expressed approval of the new law and said that smacking a child can never be “reasonable”.
However, a campaign group, Be Reasonable Scotland, disapproved of the legislation, warning that “even the mildest physical discipline will be treated as abuse”.
“In the years ahead, loving parents who have had no contact with the authorities previously and who present no risk to their children will face stressful intervention, blacklisting on police databases and even criminal records for smacking. The majority of Scots see this as an injustice, not a positive change,” a spokesperson of the group said.
Despite the Scottish government`s intent to protect children by introducing the ban on corporal punishment, concerns have been raised that parents may not be able to control their children as they could be prosecuted for the “mildest physical discipline”.