Children (Equal Protection From Assault) (Scotland) Bill implementation group minutes: May 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 11 May 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Jennifer McKee, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
  • James Devoy, Police Scotland
  • Martin MacLean, Police Scotland
  • Gavin Fergie, NHS/staff side
  • Charles Rocks, Social Work Scotland
  • Alistair Hogg, Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration
  • Simon Stockwell, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Beata Kaczmarek, Scottish Government
  • David Gorman, Scottish Government


  • Megan Farr, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • Sharon Glasgow, Social Work Scotland
  • Holly Owens, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Umar Ansari, One Parent Families Scotland
  • Louise Hill, Children 1st
  • Margaret Gibb, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Leona Solley, Scottish Government

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed the attendees and those present introduced themselves.  

Minutes of last meeting

The Chair advised that the minutes of the last meeting have been published and are available at the Scottish Government website.

Matters arising from the minutes of the last meeting

The two key points arising from the minutes of the last meeting were on raising public awareness of the legislation and on the focus groups. These were discussed later at the meeting.

Updates on Equal Protection from bodies represented round the table

Both Police Scotland and COPFS advised that there have not been any issues arising since the last meeting.

Social Work Scotland noted that there are still some inconsistencies in practice and approaches across the country but there is no need for any further guidance from Scottish Government.

There was a suggestion that more guidance and information might be helpful for colleagues in education and for community health practitioners as a first point of contact for family support. The meeting also noted that both areas were busy at the moment with other work.

Action for SG: To engage further with the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland about raising awareness of the legislation on Equal Protection

Other members of the Implementation Group said that there were no issues to report.

Discussion on raising public awareness of the legislation on Equal Protection

Some members of the Group where not able to attend the meeting but they offered comments by email on the raising public awareness paper (attached to these minutes as an appendix) that was sent to the Group ahead of the meeting.

The Group agreed that some of the material the Scottish Government produced on physical punishment of children needs to be updated.

Main points on updating the material were that the material needed:

  • a narrative which focusses more on children’s rights and growing up without violence
  • more information about the purpose behind the legislation
  • changed to some of the terminology to make the information clearer and more accessible to all families and communities

Action for SG: to redraft material and send it out to group members for comments.

Letters on Focus Groups

The Chair provided brief update on the planned focus groups and the letters that the Scottish Government sent out recently to Police Scotland and Social Work Scotland to begin the process.

Both Police Scotland and Social Work Scotland confirmed they are able to participate and support this work.

Action for SG: to write a short paper on aims/objectives for the focus groups to send out to Police Scotland and Social Work Scotland.

It was agreed that COPFS will not be involved at this stage.

There was a suggestion it might be helpful to have some representation on the focus groups from the NHS.

Action for SG: to write to the NHS about the focus groups.

Date of next meeting

The group discussed and agreed that less frequent meetings remained appropriate. The Scottish Government advised that it will make arrangements for the next implementation group meeting to take place in December 2023/January 2024.

Any other business

No other business was raised.

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