Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019: May 2020 circular

This circular sets out key information about the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act, including the date the main provisions will come into force.

Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019

  1. This Circular is to draw your attention to the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 (“the Act”).  This Circular is issued in line with section 2 of that Act. 
  2. The Act will remove the common law defence of “reasonable chastisement”.  At present, this defence is available to parents and carers charged with assaulting a child in their care.  This will cease in Scotland on 7 November 2020, when the removal of the defence will come into force.  The Scottish Government is committed to implementing this legislation in line with that date.
  3. The Scottish Government has formed an Implementation Group to help implement the legislation.  Group members include Social Work Scotland, Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and children’s charities.  Minutes of the Group’s previous meetings are available online at
  4. The Scottish Government will provide further information about the Act, including support and advice for parents, as implementation work progresses.   The Parent Club website already provides information about coping with being a parent and handling behaviour:
  5. This Circular is being sent to the bodies listed in the Annex.  It is an open circular that will be published on the Scottish Government website.  Please feel free to circulate this to any other bodies you think may have an interest in the subject matter, or to let us know about anyone you think we should contact about this. 
  6. Should you have any questions, please contact me using the details above.


Aberlour Child Care Trust

Action For Children

ADHD Coalition

Army Families Federation

Association of Directors of Education in Scotland

Barnardo’s Scotland

Be Reasonable Scotland

Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure Scotland (BEMIS)

Boarding Schools Association

British Association for Child and Adolescent     Public Health

British Medical Association Scotland

Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection

Child Law Centre

Children 1st

Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland

Church of Scotland


Clan Child Law


Convention of Scottish Local Authorities


Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service


Educational Institute of Scotland

Education Scotland

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Equality Network

Faculty of Advocates

Faculty of Public Health

Family Law Association

Families Outside

Fathers Network Scotland

Home-Start UK

Humanist Society Scotland

Inspiring Scotland

Law Society of Scotland

LGBT Youth Scotland

All local authorities in Scotland

Mellow Parenting

Ministry of Defence

Muslim Council of Scotland

National Parent Forum of Scotland

Naval Families Federation

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Scotland

NHS Education for Scotland

NHS Regional Health Boards

One Parent Families Scotland

Parent Network Scotland

Parenting Across Scotland

Play Scotland

Police Scotland

Promoting A More Inclusive Society (PAMIS)

Public Health Scotland



Relationships Scotland

Roman Catholic Church

Royal Air Force Families Federation

Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Royal College of Nursing Scotland


Scottish Autism

Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration

Scottish Churches’ Parliamentary Office

Scottish Council of Independent Schools

Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

Scottish Human Rights Commission

Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association

Scottish Youth Parliament

Scottish Women’s Aid

Shared Parenting Scotland

Smart Play Scotland

Social Work Scotland

The Spark

Who Cares? Scotland

Zero Tolerance


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