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Smacking ban gains cross-party support at Holyrood

MSPs from all five parties back Green motion to remove 'justifiable assault' defence.

Sign of the times: Children's organisations back the move.
Sign of the times: Children's organisations back the move. PA / Cropped

A ban on smacking children in Scotland can be introduced after winning cross-party support.

Green MSP John Finnie has secured the backing of more than 20 MSPs from across the parliament's five parties for his member's bill.

The legislation would remove the defence of "justifiable assault" in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment to admonish a child.

The move would make Scotland the first part of the UK to introduce a ban on smacking children.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government confirmed it would work with Mr Finnie to ensure the bill becomes law.

He 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.

"Children deserve the same legal protection from assault that adults enjoy, a position that children's rights organisations and charities have long been arguing."

A survey for STV News on Monday found most Scottish adults think parents should be allowed to hit their children.

"I am grateful to the more than 20 MSPs from across the parties who have given their support to allow my bill to proceed."Children deserve the same legal protection from assault that adults enjoy, a position that children's rights organisations and charities have long been arguing."
John Finnie MSP

Supporters of the bill include Barnardo's Scotland, the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, Children 1st and NSPCC Scotland.

A spokeswoman for the four organisations said: "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."

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1400267-smacking-children-to-be-banned-in-scotland-in-uk-first/ | default

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