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Scotland becomes first Nation in UK to ban smacking

Last updated on October 7, 2019

Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) handed the Children (Equal Protection in Assault) (Scotland) Bill from 84 votes to 29 on Thursday.

The bill, also introduced by Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie in September 2018, makes it a criminal offense to slap kids and abolishes the legal defense of”reasonable chastisement” formerly accessible for parents. Effectively, kids in Scotland will have identical legal protection against assault as adults after the law comes in to force.

The Scottish Conservatives opposed the ban, stating that it risks criminalizing “good parents”. Campaign team Be Reasonable Scotland also claimed against the ban, stating it might come at the expense of the victims of”real child abuse”, as authorities and social services could be”bombarded with trivial instances”.

Elsewhere in the united kingdom, parents and carers in England and Wales face criminal charges should they struck on a child hard enough to leave a mark, cut, bruise, graze or scrape, together with the legal situation like Northern Ireland. A bill removing the defense of reasonable punishment, very similar to the one-handed in Scotland, is now being debated at the Welsh Assembly.

Though the law is innovative from UK standards, it’s the 58th nation in the world to introduce this type of step and similar bans are already in place in nearly all European nations.

Austria, Finland, and Norway followed suit from the 1980s, also Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Latvia from the Nineties.

They’ve come in force in Albania, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, San Marino and Slovenia in the last decade and, annually, in France.

Reactions to the ban have been blended. Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh came out in favor, speaking to his experiences of corporal punishment in a tweet that read: “Disappointing. I had been given the belt virtually every week in college and it forced me into a barbarous, psychotic drug addict. Our so-called chosen representatives would deny future generations such chances. PC gone nuts”

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell, last night tweeted: “When banning smacking came up in [from the Scottish Parliament] in 2001 I had been shadow education ministry compared to it, such as the vast majority of MSPs. Very pleased that the Parliament and now I’ve discovered & changed & so delighted to vote [John Finnie’s] successful Bill this day.”

Controversial commentator Brendan O’Neill meanwhile called the ban”an outrageous attack on civic freedom”. In a post on his site Spiked, he wrote: “This is an outrageous intrusion into the sovereignty of their household.

“It is still another expression of their PC middle classes’ smug presumption that they understand better than the rest of us the way kids must be brought up… The quinoa mums and blogging fathers who constitute the commentariat and the political elite have looked with snobbish terror in parents who slap.”