Vote today will make physical punishment of children illegal
A ban on all physical punishment of children is expected to be overwhelmingly backed by the Scottish Parliament in a vote this afternoon (3 October).
A coalition of children’s charities campaigned for the move to give children the same protection from assault as adults.
Children 1st, Barnardos and the NSPCC published a report in 2015 outlining the limitations of smacking children and in some cases the long-term damage it incurred.
The bill uses the same definition of physical punishment used by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
It includes hitting such as smacking, slapping and smacking with a hand or an implement, as well as kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing ears, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion.
John Finnie, the Scottish Green MSP who brought the bill forward, said: "Physical punishment has no place in 21st Century Scotland. The international evidence tells us that it can have serious adverse impacts on children, and that it is not an effective."
Most of the responses to a consultation on Mr Finnie's bill were in favour of a ban, however a campaign against it was led by the Be Reasonable Scotlan, which argues that the move - while well-intentioned - could do more harm than good.
The group argued that the current law only allows parents to use "very mild discipline" such as a smack on the hand or bottom - which would become a criminal offence in the future.
They said that the "unnecessary" changes will therefore do nothing more to help vulnerable children who are the victims of serious physical abuse, but will cause traumatic interventions in "good" families.
And they urged the government to instead invest in social work and other services to improve their ability to identify and tackle genuine abuse.