Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Smacking ban is backed by Holyrood committee despite concerns it will criminalise good parents

John Finnie MSP
John Finnie MSP

Highland MSP John Finnie’s bid to outlaw smacking has been backed by an influential Holyrood committee despite concerns it would criminalise loving parents.

A majority of the seven MSPs on the Equalities Committee supported the proposal.

But Tories Oliver Mundell and Annie Wells were unable to back the ban, describing the proposals as “virtue signalling”.

The Tories said they were “unconvinced” that parental smacking constituted the “level of sinister and serious violence” the criminal law should be addressing.

Mr Mundell and Ms Wells added that “few” people in Scotland would equate it with the existing common law crime of assault”.

And they also said the ban would not stop “pernicious child abuse” that was already a crime, instead diverting police resources on to “good and loving” parents.

The general principles of Mr Finnie’s member’s bill, the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) Scotland Bill, was backed by the SNP, Labour and Lib Dem members of the committee.

Last night, Green MSP Mr Finnie welcomed the committee’s report into his proposal, which has been backed by the Scottish Government.

Mr Finnie said: “The evidence presented at committee showed that providing children with equal protection from assault by prohibiting physical punishment will bring substantial benefits for individuals and society.”

The committee’s report said Mr Finnie had estimated that a campaign to raise awareness of the ban would cost £300,000, but the Scottish Government’s figure was considerably less, at £30,000.

It also quoted Social Work Scotland concerns that the cost of investigating allegations had been underestimated.

Police Scotland has said the Bill’s proposal to remove “the reasonable chastisement defence “would result in an increase of incidents reported, which would have cost implications for the force”.

The report recognised that increasing public awareness that smacking is “an assault” would lead to an increase in reporting to police and social work.

But it said the increase would be “short-lived” as public education about use of alternatives to smacking becomes ingrained.

Already a subscriber? Sign in