November 7, 2020 4:36:13 pm
Scotland has become the first country in the United Kingdom to impose a ban on smacking children. With the new legislation that came into force on Saturday, children under 16 now have the same protection from assault as adults, The Guardian reported.
Earlier parents and caregivers were allowed to use physical force to discipline their children as long as it was considered “reasonable chastisement”. But the new law means that the defence of “justifiable assault” can no longer be used, BBC reported.
“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,” Scottish Green Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) John Finnie, who introduced the changes, told The Guardian. “I am pleased that this will now be the case.”
With this, Scotland has become the 58th nation in the world to outlaw corporal punishment. Sweden was the first country to outlaw smacking children in 1979. Wales is soon expected to follow suit and pass a similar law over the next two years.
“I’m very pleased that Scotland has become the first part of the UK to legislate to ensure that children, without exception, have the same protection from assault as adults,” the country’s Children’s Minister Maree Todd said in a statement. “This outdated defence has no place in a modern Scotland. It can never be reasonable to strike a child.”
The bill to ban smacking was first introduced to the Scottish Parliament by Finnie last year, according to BBC. He was able to win the support of his own party, the Scottish National Party (SNP), Labour and Lib Dems as well as several children’s charities.
Previously, parents were allowed to smack their children anywhere on the body except the head. Shaking them or using any external instrument to hit a child were not allowed. All physical punishments in schools and other educational institutes was already banned.
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