Equal Protection law to come into force

Scotland will join more than 50 countries that provide children with the same legal protection from assault that adults enjoy when the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 comes into force tomorrow . 

The law, steered through the parliamentary process by Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie, was passed overwhelmingly by the Scottish Parliament last year. It removes the Scots law defence that the ‘physical punishment’ of a child can be deemed ‘justifiable’, affording children equal protection under the law.

John Finnie MSP said:

“I am extremely proud to have taken a Bill through parliament that will have such a positive effect on the lives of Scotland’s children. I am also pleased that the Scottish Government is already looking to build on this work by seeking to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law.

“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.

“Physical punishment has no place in 21st century Scotland. All the international evidence suggests using physical punishment is ineffective, and it can have serious negative impacts on children. I have no doubt that future generations will look back in bemusement that we allowed our most vulnerable citizens to be treated in this manner.

“As a society we teach that violence is unacceptable, and the best way to impart that message onto future generations is to ensure that they are not exposed to it. This legislation outlaws the last ‘acceptable’ form of violence and I believe that is a positive step for Scotland to take.

“Parents and carers need ongoing support and advice from government about how this change of law will affect them, so it’s vital that the Scottish Ministers continue to promote public awareness and understanding of this new law and make clear where that support can be found.”