Children (Equal Protection From Assault) (Scotland) Bill implementation group minutes: November 2021
- Justice Directorate
- Part of
- Children and families, Law and order
Minutes from the 25 November 2021 meeting of the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill implementation group.
Attendees and apologies
- Yolande Love, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
- Claire Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
- Tracey Green, Police Scotland
- James Devoy, Police Scotland
- Martin MacLean, Police Scotland
- Lorrette Nicol, Social Work Scotland
- Vonnie Sandlan, Children 1st
- Joanna Barrett, NSPCC Scotland
- Simon Stockwell, Scottish Government (chair)
- Beata Kaczmarek, Scottish Government
- Jack Dudgeon, MSYP
- Umar Ansari, One Parent Families Scotland
- Charles Rocks, Social Work Scotland
- Clare Armes, NHS Lothian
- Alistair Hogg, Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration
- Megan Farr, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
Items and actions
The chair welcomed the attendees and those present introduced themselves.
Matters arising from the last minutes
The omnibus survey
The Scottish Government decided against including questions about physical punishment in the planned omnibus survey of parents.
Social Work Scotland advised that it is planning to facilitate further discussions across partner agencies to determine if more guidance is needed.
Further options for awareness raising
The Scottish Government issued a letter to local authorities and health boards marking the first anniversary of the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 coming fully into force.
The Scottish Government has suggested to the NHS that the Easy Read version of “Ready Steady Baby” could include material on Equal Protection.
The Scottish Government is planning to develop its work on focus groups with key bodies and individuals affected by the legislation, potentially to take place sometime next year. The Scottish Government would write to bodies on the Implementation Group and others about taking part in the focus groups.
Writing to the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD)
The Scottish Government has written to the SCLD about providing further information about the Act for parents and carers with learning disabilities. The Scottish Government intends to meet with SCLD in February 2022.
Remit for the group
SG drafted an amended remit (attached) for the group for consideration. It was agreed that members will respond in writing if they have any comments.
Updates from group members
Police Scotland advised that implementation of the Act has largely been without note. There have been no significant issues reported and a small number of lesser issues resolved quickly.
COPFS advised that the implementation of the Act is going well and there have been no significant developments since the last meeting.
Social Work Scotland advised that the implementation of the Act is presenting challenges in some local areas.
Social Work Scotland is planning more discussions with colleagues across Scotland and is also planning to engage with education and health partners. After these discussions have taken place, Social Work Scotland will revert to the Scottish Government and to the Implementation Group on the question of whether any further guidance would be helpful.
Monitoring the impact of the Act
The Implementation Group discussed whether statistics should be made available to help monitor the impact of the Act.
It was agreed that it would be useful to have statistics but it was also noted that figures in this area are difficult to obtain because the Act did not introduce a new offence, just removed a defence to the charge of assault.
Presentation from Joanna Barrett , NSPCC Scotland
Joanna Barrett from NSPCC Scotland provided an overview about potential research on the impact of the Act.
In principle, the group was supportive of NSPCC proposed research. Members discussed what might be feasible and helpful in terms of gathering evidence. It was noted again that it might be difficult to obtain statistical information and that data does not provide a full picture.
Some organisations would require clearance at senior level to take part in any research.
Any other business
The Implementation Group noted that the legislation in Wales was due to come into force on 21 March 2022.
The Welsh Government has indicated it would welcome further discussions with some stakeholders in Scotland on the impact of the legislation. The Welsh and Scottish Governments will be in touch as required.
The Implementation Group noted that the Welsh Government had attended a previous meeting of the Implementation Group, that this had been very helpful and it would be useful to invite them again. It was agreed that the Scottish Government will invite the Welsh Government to one of the future implementation group meetings.
Members asked if the Scottish Government planned any further work to raise public awareness of the Act. The Scottish Government noted it was not planning a specific marketing campaign but the Scottish Government will continue to look for ways to raise public awareness of the Act.
Children (Equal Protection From Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019
Suggested revised remit
This group was set up to advise on the implementation of the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019.
The remit of the group now that the Act has passed and fully in force is as follows:
- checking with the members of the Implementation Group whether implementation is going well and whether any further steps need to be taken
- consideration of ways to increase awareness of the Act
- consideration of how the impact of the legislation can be monitored
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