- SNP Government endorsed a backbench Green MSP’s smacking ban law
- Sturgeon signalled support for the new law when outlining her plans last month
- Scotland is now set to be the first part of the UK to pass a law banning smacking
Scotland is set to be the first part of the UK to ban smacking after Nicola Sturgeon’s government endorsed a proposed new law.
SNP ministers have said they will ensure that a Bill brought forward by Green MSP John Finnie would become law.
The legislation will remove the defence of ‘justifiable assault’ in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment to admonish a child.
Scotland is set to be the first part of the UK to ban smacking after Nicola Sturgeon’s government endorsed a proposed new law (pictured posed by models)
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ‘Mr Finnie’s proposals are not a Scottish Government Bill, however we will ensure the proposals become law.
‘We believe physical punishment can have negative effects on children which can last long after the physical pain has died away.
‘We support positive parenting through, for example, funding for family support services.’
Today’s statement follows First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s confirmation in her programme for government last month that ministers would ‘not oppose’ Mr Finnie’s Bill.
She highlighted that about 50 countries – including France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Ireland – had already made the change.
The detailed document setting out Ms Sturgeon’s legislative programme appeared to go further, stating the government would support the proposals.
Nicola Sturgeon (pictured yesterday promoting a wind farm off the west coast of Scotland) signalled the move to ban smacking last month
Scottish Labour announced earlier this week it would also support the bill as ‘the right thing to do’.
Mr Finnie said: ‘It is especially welcome that the Scottish Government has reiterated its support for my bill because there is clear evidence that the use of physical punishment is detrimental to children’s long-term health and wellbeing.
‘Giving children equal protection against assault will send a clear message to all of us about how we treat each other and underpin Scotland’s efforts to reduce violence.
‘The physical punishment of children is already illegal in 52 countries and my proposal will give children in Scotland the necessary protections to flourish in a healthy environment and encourage the building of stronger relationships between children, their parents and others who care for them.’