Welcome for Scottish Government support on child protection

A NEW PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILL aimed at giving children equal protection from assault has progressed at Holyrood with support from the Scottish Government.

Scottish Greens justice spokesman and MSP for the Highlands and Islands (including Moray) John Finnie learned this week that his Bill will be supported.

He said that comes as a welcome boost to the campaign in Scotland to become one of the greatest places in the world for children to grow up in.

Mr Finnie held a public consultation on the proposal earlier this year, with an overwhelming response in favour of the proposal from both Individuals and organisations. Professional bodies, children’s and health and social care organisations who have campaigned for this change in the law include Children 1st, NSPCC Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, the Royal College of Paediatricians and the Scottish Police Federation.

John Finnie said: “I welcome the support offered today by the Scottish Government for my equal protection proposal – it is simply unacceptable that we offer the most vulnerable in our society the least protection.

“The ‘justifiable assault’ defence is from a different age and it is vital that we move forward and afford our children the protection they deserve – the protection all adults enjoy – and send a message to the whole of society that we don’t tolerate violence in any setting.

“I have been studying the responses to my consultation, with the support of the Scottish Parliament’s Non-Government Bills Unit, over the past few weeks and expect to be in the position to outline my final proposal in the near future.”

Mary Glasgow, Acting Chief Executive, Children 1st, Scotland’s National Children’s Charity added: “It’s fantastic to see the Scottish Government recognise that all children need the same protection from violence that we enjoy as adults.

“Children 1st have campaigned on this issue for many years as we believe it can make a real difference to the lives of the children and families that we work alongside. The current law is out of step with what we now know about child development and the harm physical punishment can do to children, families and society.

“We look forward to continuing our work with John Finnie MSP, the Scottish Government and Parliament and the many other organisations and individuals who have joined us in supporting this change, to ensure legal reform is urgently progressed.”