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Children Equal Protection from Assault (Scotland) Act 2019

Published: Wednesday, 04 November 2020

On 7th November 2020 Scots law is changing to make it clear that children in Scotland can no longer be physically punished.

The most important things to know about why the law is changing and what it means for families is available from Children 1st and are:

The change in law means that children will have the same – or equal – protection from assault as adults. It does not introduce a new criminal offence and Scotland’s child protection guidance will remain the same. The law that already exists to protect adults from all forms of assault will now apply to children as well.

The change in law means that you can still stop your child from getting into danger for example grabbing them if they run into the road but you won’t be able to smack them afterwards.

Many families in Scotland already raise their children without using physical punishment. There are lots of different ways to raise your children without physical punishment and you can still choose between these in how you manage your children’s behaviour and bring them up. There’s lots of support out there for parents and carers who would like to talk about other options.

Physical punishment doesn’t work – there have been lots of studies from around the world which show that physical punishment doesn’t teach children to behave differently and that it can make relationships between children and their parents/carers worse.

Physical punishment can harm children – today we know a lot more about how children’s brains develop and it has been repeatedly shown that physical punishment can do long term harm to children’s physical and emotional health.

You can find out more on Children 1st website.