Church of Scotland supports smacking ban legislation

The Kirk's support of a bill that would help give greater protection to young people from physical punishment has been welcomed by children's charities.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill was introduced by Scottish Green MSP John Finnie and is under consideration at the Scottish Parliament.

The Church of Scotland and a number of organisations across Scotland have vocalised their approval of the Bill.


It would create a law to abolish the defence of reasonable chastisement of a child.

Under current legislation, a person can claim that the physical punishment of a child is justifiable as a parental right or as a right of having charge or care of the child.

However, the court does also consider a number of factors such as the nature of the action and duration.

The Church of Scotland, the Scottish Youth Parliament, Social Work Scotland, Law Society of Scotland and a number of other organisations wrote submissions to Holyrood's Equality and Human Rights Committee on Wednesday.

Expressing their support for the Bill, The Church of Scotland, in its submission, wrote: "The Church believes that the resort to violence should cease to be acceptable as our society comes to understand its negative impact."

There has, however, been criticism of the proposals.

Police in Scotland suggested in their submission to the committee that the legislation could result in increased costs to the force as officers spend time probing allegations against parents.

Campaign group Be Reasonable Scotland - backed by The Christian Institute and The Family Education Trust - argue a ban will "criminalise parents".

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