Stricter laws on the physical punishment of
children are to be introduced in Scotland following an announcement
by justice minister Jim Wallace.
The new proposals introduce a total ban on
blows to the head, shaking and the use of implements. Physically
punishing any child under two years will be outlawed. Childcare
centres, childminders and non-publicly funded pre-school centres
will now be prohibited from physically punishing children.
In making the announcement Wallace said:
“Parents will keep the right to reasonably chastise their children,
but greater restrictions on what is allowed will be enacted.”
The proposals are bound to receive no more
than a guarded welcome from many childcare organisations which
lobbied for a complete ban on the physical punishment of all
children during the Scottish executive’s consultation
process. The proposals will be laid out in full in a white paper to
be published in October, and incorporated into the Criminal Justice
Bill. It is likely to become law by the end of next year.
Wallace said: “We want to amend the law to
protect children from punishment that is harsh, degrading and
completely inappropriate in a decent society.”