Public consultation on smacking ban in Scotland

MEMBERS of the public are being asked to give their views on proposed legislation to ban smacking children in Scotland.

Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee has launched a call for views on the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill.

Introduced by Green MSP John Finnie as a private member’s Bill it would, if passed, remove the defence of “justifiable assault” in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment on children.

The legislation is expected to been passed as it has been backed by the Scottish Government and MSPs from across all the political parties.

A recent Panelbase poll of 1024 voters for The Sunday Times Scotland found 30% backed a ban, while 53% believe smacking should be allowed and the remainder were unsure. However, a public consultation last year received more than 650 responses with almost 75% of those in favour of a ban.

Organisations including the Scottish Police Federation, Barnardo’s Scotland, the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland and the NSPCC also back outlawing smacking.Campaign group Be Reasonable Scotland – supported by The Christian Institute and The Family Education Trust – argues a ban will “criminalise parents”.

Equalities and Human Rights Committee Convener, Ruth Maguire, said: “This Bill has aroused strong views. There are passionately held beliefs on both sides of this argument – from those who think that physical punishment violates a child’s human rights, to those who feel parents should have a right to smack their children.

“As the proposed law starts making its way through the Parliamentary process, we are keen to hear from people in Scotland who have a view on this subject.

“This will help us as we carry out our role as parliamentarians and inform our consideration of the proposals. While committee members will be getting out and about around Scotland, engaging with young people and community groups, absolutely anyone can submit their views to us.”

What’s your view? Does the public require another consultation on smacking in Scotland? Should the public expect elected members to make decisions on behalf of the communities they serve? Share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Friday 02 November 2018 in The National. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.

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