Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill
The aim of this proposal is to promote and safeguard the health and well-being of children and young people by ensuring they are afforded the same right to protection from assault as adults; this would be achieved by ending the current legal position that the physical punishment of children can be viewed as justifiable assault.
Today we know more than ever before about child development, the importance of relationships in a child’s early years and what this means for the long-term health of individuals, communities and society. It is clearly important, not just for those bringing up children but for wider society, to ensure that parents set clear boundaries, provide children with consistent and effective guidance, and help them learn acceptable and appropriate behaviours. Physical punishment is often cited as a form of parental discipline. However, discipline and physical punishment are not the same. Discipline can be achieved through a range of techniques, which do not require the physical punishment of a child. Indeed the majority of parents in Scotland don’t like the idea of physical punishment and doubt it works.
A robust body of international evidence shows that they are right. Rather than showing children the right way to behave, physical punishment can instead make children’s problem behaviour worse and can lead to a vicious circle of escalating conflict. The evidence shows that this has consequences both for individual families and for Scotland’s public health as a whole. Physical punishment damages children’s well-being and results in increased levels of violence in our communities.
This consultation document sets out the case for strengthening the law in Scotland, to prohibit all forms of physical punishment of children, and seeks views on that proposal.
The response to this consultation is currently under preparation. Please contact the Consultation Response Team ([email protected]) if you have any related queries.