Views are being sought on proposed legislation to ban smacking of children.

Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee wants to hear from local people as it considers the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) Bill.

Introduced by Green MSP John Finnie as a private member’s Bill, it would remove the defence of ‘justifiable assault’ in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment on children.

The legislation is expected to be passed, as it has been backed by the Scottish Government and MSPs from all political parties.
Organisations such as the Scottish Police Federation and children’s charity Barnardo’s also support a ban.

However, campaign group Be Reasonable Scotland, supported by The Christian Institute and The Family Education Trust, argues that outlawing smacking will “criminalise” parents.

Ruth Maguire, convener of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee, said: “There are strongly-held beliefs on both sides of this argument, from those who think physical punishment violates a child’s human rights to those who feel parents should have a right to smack their children.

“As the proposed law starts making its way through the Parliamentary process, we are keen to hear from people who have a view on this subject.

“This will help us as we carry out our role as parliamentarians and inform our consideration of the proposals.

“While committee members will be getting out and about around Scotland, engaging with young people and community groups, absolutely anyone can submit their views to us.”

The call for views closes on January 25. For more information, visit