Children (Equal Protection From Assault) (Scotland) Bill implementation group minutes: May 2021

Minutes from the 13 May 2021 meeting of the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill implementation group.

Attendees and apologies


  • Clare Armes, NHS Lothian
  • Richard Cockbain, Police Scotland
  • Yolande Love, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
  • Sarah Meanley, Scottish Government (SG), Family law
  • Charles Rocks, Social Work Scotland
  • Claire Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Leona Solley, SG, Parenting, Play and Baby Box team
  • Simon Stockwell, SG, Family (Chair)


  • Umar Ansari, One Parent Families Scotland
  • Mark Ballard, Children 1st
  • Jack Dudgeon MSYP
  • Megan Farr, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • Maria Gray, Scottish Government
  • Alistair Hogg, Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration

Items and actions


Updates from bodies represented around the table

Police Scotland advised that the Act has bedded in well, and that they are continuing to provide support and advice on the Equal Protection Act to colleagues, including those in local authorities. 

Parenting Across Scotland advised that their member organisations have not noticed anything related to the act in the helplines they run. They advised that while there has been an increase in referrals this is coronavirus-related rather than being related to the Equal Protection Act.

Parenting Across Scotland also mentioned that Ipsos Mori was doing a parental omnibus, suggesting that this could include a question about parental awareness of the law as it relates to physical punishment as this would be a useful gauge of parental understanding.

Action for SG: to look into the omnibus survey and the scope for including a question about awareness.

NHS Lothian noted the practical challenges for health visitors in delivering information about the Act to parents and carers who disagree with it in principle.

Social Work Scotland advised that local authorities across Scotland could find it beneficial to enhance their shared understanding of the implications of the Act for their work.

Action for SG: to consider whether it would be helpful to provide further guidance for this sector.

As part of this, Parenting Across Scotland suggested considering further awareness raising.

Action for SG: to consider further options for awareness raising.

COPFS advised that there has been no significant impact since the Act commenced. Monitoring of cases of assault and assault with injury including a child aggravator reported by Police Scotland, from November 2020 to January 2021 suggested that there was a very small increase in reported cases of assaults on a child, but it is not possible to determine if that is attributable to the Equal Protection Act.

The SG representative from the Parenting, Play and Baby Box team advised the group of the Family Support Delivery Group’s ongoing work, including drafting a route map for improving holistic family support. ParentClub remains an open route for providing support and advice to families.

Forthcoming work

SG (family law) advised that it was considering a communications strategy for the anniversary of the full commencement of the Equal Protection Act which could again focus on the effect of the legislation and public awareness

SG (family law) noted it continued to develop its work on focus groups, potentially to take place over the summer

SG noted that it was continuing to actively consider options for mainstreaming information about the Act, including in relation to education

Social Work Scotland advised of some technology-based options for reaching children and young people. Parenting Across Scotland advised that the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability might be able to provide support in terms of reaching parents and carers with learning disabilities

The group discussed the administrative arrangements for the group, and agreed that meeting every six months from now on would be appropriate. 

Action for SG: to draft an amended remit for the group for consideration at its next meeting.



Updates from bodies represented round the tables, to include if possible

  • any considerations arising as a result of the recent easing of health restrictions

Forthcoming work

  • communications strategy on anniversary of commencement

  • UNCRC incorporation

  • group members’ future work and opportunities for inclusion of reference to Equal Protection

Review of Equal Protection Implementation Group: roundtable discussion on the remit, aims, and membership of the group six months after commencement


Scottish Government

May 2021

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