Many parents ‘unaware smacking ban becomes law next month’

Greater awareness is needed regarding the new law, the Be Reasonable campaign group said.

Many parents ‘unaware smacking ban becomes law next month’ Getty Images

Greater awareness is needed of the smacking ban which comes into force in Scotland next month, campaigners have said.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act was passed last year and will become law on November 7.

It will give children the same protection from violence as adults by removing the defence of justifiable assault in Scots law.

But the Be Reasonable campaign group said parents may be “caught unawares” by the law change.

Ashley Frawley, a sociologist and spokeswoman for the group, said: “With just over a month to go until the ban is implemented, nothing has been done to tell families what it means.

“The only resource that comes close to telling the truth is an obscure webpage tucked on the site.

“Unlike other cultural changes such as the smoking ban, there has been no marketing to bring the public up to speed. Many parents will simply be caught unawares.

“The situation has been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis which has left parents disconnected from the usual channels of communication – schools, nurseries and clubs, where discussions over parenting often take place.”

In response, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This important legislation gives children the same legal protection from assault as adults – something backed by an overwhelming majority of public opinion.

“We have published information on our website about the act, and have worked with stakeholders to share advice about this change with a wide audience.

“In line with our commitment to support parents as part of our work on this act, we have also published information about positive parenting techniques on Parent Club.

“Based on experience from elsewhere, we do not expect a large number of prosecutions.”

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