• STV
  • MySTV

'Enormous' public opposition to smacking ban, group claims

Be Reasonable Scotland say a smacking ban is 'unwanted, unwarranted and unworkable'.

Smacking: The bill would remove the defence of 'justifiable assault'.
Smacking: The bill would remove the defence of 'justifiable assault'. CC by Flickr/dun_deagh

There is "enormous" public opposition to a proposed ban on smacking, a campaign group has claimed.

Analysis by Be Reasonable Scotland suggests a majority of the responses to a consultation on the Children (Equal Protection From Assault) (Scotland) Bill indicated opposition to the plans.

If passed, the legislation brought forward by Green MSP John Finnie would remove the defence of "justifiable assault" in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment on children.

Simon Calvert, of Be Reasonable Scotland, said: "We have carried out forensic research into the 437 submissions made on the bill and the results demonstrate what we have been saying since the outset - a smacking ban is unwanted, unwarranted and unworkable.

"The public doesn't like it and parents object to this latest intrusion into family life by those who want to impose their own parenting preferences on every home in Scotland.

"More than 370 individuals who responded to the consultation opposed Mr Finnie's bill. By contrast, only 11 individuals spoke in favour of it.

"The evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of Scots do not back this ban and they need to communicate this to their MSPs before it's too late.

"There are 614,000 families with dependent children in Scotland and many of these parents face the threat of being criminalised if this bill goes through and they are found to have given their child a light smack. That's chilling."

'There are 614,000 families with dependent children in Scotland and many of these parents face the threat of being criminalised if this bill goes through.'
Simon Calvert, Be Reasonable Scotland

Holyrood's Equalities and Human Rights Committee heard from individuals working at child protection organisations on Thursday.

They indicated that introducing legislation could help change the culture around violence in Scotland.

Mr Finnie said: "It is rightly a matter for parliament which committee scrutinises legislation and a matter for the committee what witnesses it invites.

"Given the indisputable evidence that physical punishment can be harmful to children I'm not surprised that all the credible witnesses support my proposal.

"My bill will bring Scotland into line with international best practice, and help us take another step toward making Scotland the best country for children to grow up in."

A government spokeswoman said: "The Scottish Government supports positive parenting.

"This member's bill by John Finnie will give children the same legal protections as adults - something backed by an overwhelming majority of public opinion - and end the defence of 'justifiable assault'.

"We have set up an implementation group - including bodies such as Police Scotland - which will consider what actions will need to be taken if the Bill becomes law.

"The group is looking at issues such as communication and guidance. We will continue to offer funding for a range of family support services and resources to help parents and carers."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.