Overwhelming Support For Child Protection Proposal

John has welcomed the overwhelming support for his proposed Member’s Bill to give children Equal Protection from assault.

A three-month public consultation on removing the defence of “justifiable assault” of children from Scots law, giving them the same protection as adults, has resulted in more than 650 responses from individuals and organisations with almost 75 per cent of respondents supportive. All responses from those happy to be published have been placed online.

A number of high profile organisations offered their support to the proposal, including the Scottish Police Federation who said:

“Child Protection forms a significant part of the Police Service of Scotland’s work and there are therefore extensive resources deployed to this area of policing across all geographical areas of Scotland. The Bill will provide greater protection to our children and convey to society that the physical punishment of children is not acceptable. In the longer term evidence suggests that it may reduce violence and bullying on and by our children.”

Rape Crisis Scotland also fully supported the proposal, with their response stating:

“Legal reform sends a very clear message and promotes cultural change to end the use of physical punishment in Scotland. Giving children full protection against assault will send a clear message to all of us about how we treat each other as human beings, and underpin Scotland’s efforts to reduce violence across the whole of society. Without legal reform some children will have less protection from violence and assault than others, depending on whether their parents use physical punishment. Given the irrefutable evidence that physical punishment is harmful, it is not acceptable to wait for every parent’s approach to catch up with the evidence, before introducing legal reform. This is particularly important because in the absence of clear messaging from the Scottish Government some parents may not even be aware of the evidence.”

John Finnie, Justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for the Highlands & Islands, said:

“I am grateful to all organisations and individuals that contributed to the consultation. It is clear from the responses that there is overwhelming support for the proposal.

“There is widespread recognition that children should receive the same legal protection from assault that adults enjoy, a position that children’s rights organisations and charities have been arguing for some time. It is also clear from all the available research that the status quo can be damaging to children and must not be allowed to continue.

“I will now work with the Scottish Parliament’s Non-Governmental Bills Unit over the coming weeks to thoroughly analyse each response.”


The next step for the Bill is that the Non-Governmental Bills Unit will compile an analysis of the responses, which John will then reflect on before deciding whether or not to seek the cross-party support of 18 MSPs to enable him to bring the Bill before Parliament for scrutiny.

Consultation responses: www.johnfinnie.scot/equal-protection

List of organisations:

ThisDadDoes.com, Highland Children’s Forum, Befriending Networks, NHS Tayside, Moray Women’s Aid, Highland Council, Circle – Supporting Families in Scotland, Upstart Scotland, North Lanarkshire Child Protection Committee, Scottish Out of School Care Network, Children’s Parliament, Eighteen and Under, Unicef UK, Edinburgh Montessori Arts School, Scottish Youth Parliament, YouthLink Scotland, Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, One Parent Families Scotland, Lochaber Women’s Aid, Barnardo’s Scotland, Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, Clan Childlaw, South Lanarkshire Child Protection Committee, PAMIS (Promoting a More Inclusive Society), Scottish Police Federation, Children and Young People Public Health Group, Edinburgh Women’s Aid, LGBT Youth Scotland, Equality & Human Rights Commission, National Parent Forum of Scotland, Shetland Integrated Children and Young Person’s Strategic Planning Group, Scottish Childminding Association, The Highland Council, The Scottish Child Law Centre, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance, Argyll and Bute Council, Includem, Social Work Scotland, NHS Health Scotland, Parenting Across Scotland, The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, Edinburgh Childrens Partnership, Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector, Anonymous, (Scotland) Family Fund, NHS Borders, Scottish Association of Social Work, Rape Crisis Scotland, University of St Andrews, School of Medicine’s WHO Collaborative Centre for International Child and Adolescent Health Policy and the Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit, Homeless Action Scotland, Stepping Stones for Families, Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, CARE for Scotland, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), Scottish Directors of Public Health Group and Scottish Health Promotion Managers Group, Children 1st, Renfrewshire Council Children’s Services, NHS Tayside, NHS Orkney, NHS Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee, Orkney Islands Council, Children in Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Dumfries and Galloway Council, The Christian Institute, The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, Who Cares? Scotland, Aberlour Scotland’s Children’s Charity, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, CELCIS Centre for Excellence and CYCJ Centre for youth and criminal justice, Scottish Women’s Convention, Aberdeen City Council, Humanist Society Scotland, The British Psychological Society, Scottish Women’s Aid, NSPCC