Scottish bid to criminalize parents who smack their children
The Christian Institute

The Christian Institute
A law criminalising parents for smacking their children is being proposed in Scotland.

Green MSP John Finnie is leading the proposal, which follows a push for a similar change in Wales.

Currently the Scottish Government opposes criminalizing parents for smacking their children.

Speaking to the BBC, Anne Atkins, commentator and author of Child Rearing for Fun, said it was unreasonable to take decisions about discipline away from parents and give it to politicians.

Atkins said smacking was simply one of a number of “discipline and love” options available, and: “The expert in the child is the parent, not the politician”.

“Woe betide us when we step between the parent and the child, because it is always damaging for the child”, she added.

Atkins also challenged BBC Radio Scotland host Stephen Jardine more than once for conflating ‘assualt’ and ‘violence’ with ‘smacking’.

She made clear that they are completely different, and that “hurting a child as a violent act, of course is illegal”.

Atkins was speaking as part of a phone-in where callers also expressed their opposition to criminalization.

In a statement, the Scottish Government said it has “no plans to introduce legislation in the area” but does not support “physical punishment of children” and will consider Finnie’s Bill.

The MSP acknowledges that parents will be criminalized, but claims it will not be in “significant numbers”.

In a consultation document released with the Bill, he also recognised that, if smacking was banned, police and social workers would come under increased pressure.

But he claimed it would help make Scotland be seen as “the best place in the world for children to grow up”.

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