Church of Scotland
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Ban child smacking, urges the Church of Scotland

Fri 04 Nov 2016
By Premier Journalist

The Church of Scotland has called for a change in law to ensure that it is never acceptable to beat a child.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland addressed the Scottish Parliament at a seminar in Glasgow.

Dr Frazer recommended that Scottish Government should remove "justifiable assault" from the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003.

Under the "justifiable assault" clause, parents can lawfully cause children physical pain such as smacking as a punishment.

Dr Frazer told those gathered at the Equal Protection for Children seminar that the move to change the law will grant children the same rights as adults.

He went on to announce that the Church of Scotland has joined the "Children are unbeatable!" Alliance Scotland campaign to call for legal reform.

Dr Frazer said: "Legislation is needed to continue the process of protecting the most vulnerable members of our society and to send a clear message that resorting to violence as a means of disciplining children is not acceptable."
 
The Church welcomed the announcement that Highlands and islands Green MSP John Finnie intends to bring forward a private members Bill in the Scottish Parliament to make the necessary changes to legislation.
 
Dr Frazer continued: "Physical punishment is recognised as a violation of children's human rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

"A ban on physical punishment respects children as rights holders and encourages us all to use non-violent methods of conflict resolution in adult life."

The UK is one of only five countries in the European Union which have not yet committed to law reform on justifiable assault.

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