Scotland becomes first UK nation to make smacking children a criminal offence
Smacking of children has become a criminal offence in Scotland, the first country in Europe to do so.
The bill which was introduce to the Scottish Parliament by Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie, was backed by 84 votes against 29.
He argued that: ‘Physical punishment has no place in 21st century’.
Parents and carers are only allowed to use reasonable physical force when disciplining children.
Finnie said: ‘I am absolutely delighted that the Scottish Parliament has taken this historic and courageous step.
‘The leadership shown by MSPs will send a strong message that violence is never acceptable in any setting, and that our children deserve at least the same legal protections that adults enjoy.
‘Physical punishment has no place in 21st century Scotland. The international evidence tells us that it can have serious impacts on children, and that it is not effective.
‘As I have progressed this campaign over the last three years, it has become clear just how many people believed that striking a child was already outlawed.
‘I am extremely proud to have brought forward the legislation that will enhance children’s rights in Scotland and believe that today we have taken a huge step toward making Scotland the best country in the world for children to grow up in.’
Mr Finnie also addressed those who feel the bill would criminalise parents.
He said: ‘There is no evidence that a change to the law results in increased prosecutions in any of the more than 50 countries where some of the reforms have taken place.
‘In fact, this change in the law in Ireland prompted more parents to contact services to ask for help and support with alternative disciplining techniques.
‘Surely this is something which should be welcomed, and an encouraging consequence of a positive legal change.’