Smacking of young children to be outlawed in Scotland

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.”

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