Child Neglect

Catholic Church may fight smacking ban

Mon 26 Feb 2018
By Eno Adeogun

The Catholic Church has indicated it will oppose a Scottish law banning parents from smacking their children.

Scotland outlawed the physical punishment of children last year after the Scottish government confirmed that a member's bill proposed by John Finnie, the Green MSP, will become law.

Anthony Horan, director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, an agency of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, told The Times: "A bill which would criminalise parents for chastising their children appears to have little public support.


"It is not the role of the state to interfere in how parents go about building a strong relationship with their children, except in the most exceptional circumstances."

The ban, which has the support of the Church of Scotland, makes Scotland the first UK nation to ban all physical punishment of children.

The outlawing of the physical punishment of children is also being considered in Wales where the Welsh Government wants to remove the legal defence for parents who use corporal punishment to discipline children.

In England, it is illegal for a parent or carer to smack their own child, except where it amounts to "reasonable punishment", according to section 58 of the Children Act 2004.

Scotland's bill removes the defence of "justifiable assault" which parents could previously use.

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