News

Defence to assault on children removed

Published: 06 Nov 2020 00:01

Equal Protection from Assault Act comes into force.

Legislation that gives children the same legal protection from assault as adults comes into force on Saturday 7 November.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 removes the outdated defence of “reasonable chastisement” from the physical assault of children, giving them the same legal protections everyone else already has.

The legislation, brought forward by John Finnie MSP and supported by Scottish Ministers, was passed by the Scottish Parliament in October 2019. 

Children’s Minister Maree Todd said:

“I’m very pleased that Scotland has become the first part of the UK to legislate to ensure that children, without exception, have the same protection from assault as adults.

“This outdated defence has no place in a modern Scotland. It can never be reasonable to strike a child. The removal of this defence reaffirms that we want this country to be the best place in the world for children to grow up so that they feel loved, safe, respected and can realise their full potential.

“We have worked in partnership with organisations including children’s charities, Social Work Scotland and Police Scotland on implementation of this Act. As part of this, we will continue to promote positive parenting and build on the support we already offer to children and families.”

Background

Equal Protection from Assault (Scotland) Act