What do parents think of Scotland’s new smacking ban?

Some believe parents should be able to discipline their children as they see fit, but others welcome the new law.

Smacking children is now illegal in Scotland after a new law came into force on Saturday morning.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act gives children the same protection from violence as adults by removing the defence of justifiable assault in Scots law.

STV News has spoken parents who are for and against the ban.


Father of two Tony Goodall, from East Kilbride, said he thought smacking was already banned in Scotland.

“It seems like something that should have been there all along.

“I think it’s a step too close to child abuse. At what point do you draw the line?

“The main argument I always hear from people who agree with smacking a child is that it didn’t do them any harm but clearly it did because they think hitting a child is appropriate.

“I think if somebody thinks that raising their hands to hit a child because they’re misbehaving is acceptable then they need to be re-educated and perhaps learn a better way to control them.

“If she has a tantrum we’ve found the best thing to do is to ignore her, and she has a step that we’ll sit her on. As soon as you ignore them and they’re not getting the attention they calm right down.

“My son is five and he’s like sponge, he mimics everything. If I was to smack my daughter, he would think that’s an appropriate thing to do as well. He could be in school and hit another child because he thinks it’s an appropriate reaction when it’s very much not.”


Stuart Waiton, a parent from Dundee, is a member of the campaign group Be Reasonable, which opposes the smacking ban. He argues that it should be up to parents to discipline their children as they see fit.

“We’re creating a situation where we’re criminalising loving parents for nothing more than some light physical punishment.

“Anyone with any ounce of common sense knows that an occasional light smack to a child does them absolutely no harm at all and this is a dreadful new law that is simply criminalising loving parents.

“You don’t have to be in favour of smacking to think that you shouldn’t criminalise smacking. I think people smack less than they used to, but occasionally especially with young children they find it useful.

“I think the wider concern is that it creates a climate of fear amongst parents where them doing something that they think is good and reasonable can mean that they potentially accused of a crime, defined as a child abuser, potentially lose their jobs, potentially lose their children.

“It’s remarkable the extent to which this could have an impact on families.”

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