Finnie to lodge Member’s Bill to give children Equal Protection from assault, after securing support from across Holyrood's five parties

John Finnie MSP, Justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (26 Oct) has earned the right to lodge his Member’s Bill to give children Equal Protection from assault, after securing the signatures of more than 18 MSPs from across Holyrood's five parties.

The formal endorsement follows last week's statement by the Scottish Government that it will work with Mr Finnie to help the bill become law.

Earlier this year a three-month public consultation on removing the defence of “justifiable assault” of children from Scots law, giving them equal protection from assault, resulted in more than 650 responses from individuals and organisations with almost 75 per cent of respondents supportive.

Supporters include the Scottish Police Federation, Rape Crisis Scotland, Barnardo's Scotland, the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, the Equality & Human Rights Commission, Children 1st, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Scottish Women's Aid and the NSPCC.

John Finnie MSP said:

“I am grateful to the more than 20 MSPs from across the parties who have given their support to allow my bill to proceed. The public consultation held earlier this year heard from a wide variety of organisations and individuals and it was clear from the responses that there is overwhelming support for the proposal. 

“Children deserve the same legal protection from assault that adults enjoy, a position that children’s rights organisations and charities have long been arguing. Substantial academic research from around the world shows that physical punishment does not work and is shown to be counterproductive; my bill aims to support parents to make positive choices. 

"I look forward to parliament examining the bill and stand ready to make the case that providing equal protection for children - ending justifiable assault - will show that Scotland really is the best place to grow up."

A spokeswoman for Barnardo’s Scotland, the Children & Young People's Commissioner Scotland, Children 1st and NSPCC Scotland added: 
“The cross-party political support we have seen in the last two days since John Finnie lodged his final proposal on Equal Protection for children has been overwhelming. MSPs from across the chamber have been standing up for children by pledging their support to the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill. 
“These 22 signatures and counting mean that the Bill can be introduced to Parliament and this is fantastic news.
“This Bill is about giving children the same protection from assault within the law as adults. The Bill will not change the way that Police and Social Work deal with assault against children. Rather it establishes the principle that assault can never be ‘justifiable’. We look forward to working with MSPs and the Scottish Government during the passage of this Bill to ensure this happens at the earliest opportunity.”


The MSPs who have signed John's bill as of 26 October:

Rona Mackay, Ben Macpherson, Mary Fee, Alison Johnstone, Iain Gray, Christina McKelvie, Ruth Maguire, Alex Cole-Hamilton, Mark Ruskell, Ross Greer, Patrick Harvie, Daniel Johnson, Willie Rennie, Gillian Martin, Ash Denham, Jenny Gilruth, Andy Wightman, Monica Lennon, Kezia Dugdale, Gail Ross, Claudia Beamish and Liam Kerr.