Equal Protection from Assault (Scotland) - consultation response

In January 2019 we responded to the Scottish Parliament Equalities and Human Rights Committee consultation on the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill. We support the proposal to abolish the defence of reasonable chastisement.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill was introduced by John Finnie MSP on 6 September 2018. The Bill proposed an Act of Scottish Parliament to abolish the defence of reasonable chastisement. The Bill is currently at stage two.

Children 1st and the Scottish Youth Parliament have issued a joint call for children and young people's voices to be heard as the legislation progresses through the Scottish Parliament.

Our response

  • We support the proposal to abolish the defence of reasonable chastisement, to give children equal protection from assault by prohibiting all physical punishment of children.
  • We are committed to the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including Article 19 to protect children from violence, abuse and neglect.
  • It is not legally justifiable to use violence against adults. We support extending this to children. 
  • We support the Scottish Government's Getting it Right for Every Child principles and suggest that using violence against children contradicts with three of the eight wellbeing indicators, which state that children should feel safe, nurtured and respected.

Our recommendations

  • We recommend that the Bill is passed.
  • If the Bill is passed, we recommend Governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland introduce similar legislation. 

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Scotland Team: enquiries-scotland@rcpch.ac.uk.