Almost all Scots oppose plans to ban smacking

The vast majority of Scots oppose plans to ban smacking in the country, Holyrood’s recent public consultation has found.

Of those who responded, 89 per cent oppose a ban, while just 11 per cent support it.

But support for the ban was inflated by campaign groups. When these responses were excluded, only 3 per cent were in favour with 97 per cent opposed.


Two serving police officers were among those expressing opposition to the ban in the consultation, warning that Police Scotland would be “overwhelmed” with “trivial” complaints.

One officer who has worked in child protection for many years, said there is “no appetite” among the police for a ban.

In its own submission, Police Scotland expressed reservations, warning “state intervention/interference in family life” would end up with parents being criminalised for behaviour which has been accepted for “generations”.

there is “no appetite” among the police for a ban

‘Huge disconnect’

Be Reasonable Scotland, the campaign group spearheading opposition to the ban, said its research into the submissions “demonstrates what we have been saying since the outset – a smacking ban is unwanted, unwarranted and unworkable.”

Spokesman Simon Calvert highlighted a “huge disconnect” between some ‘professionals’ and ordinary mums and dads.

“There are 614,000 families with dependent children in Scotland and many of these parents face the threat of being criminalised if this Bill goes through and they are found to have given their child a light smack. That’s chilling.”


The Holyrood committee examining John Finnie MSP’s Bill, which is supported by the SNP, is also facing accusations of bias.

Of the seven MSPs on the committee, five have expressed support for the ban, and 94 per cent of witnesses called to give evidence to the committee also support the Bill.

Mr Calvert said: “This seems disproportionate when you consider that 90% of responses to the committee’s consultation were opposed.

‘Not child abuse’

Columnist Kevin McKenna called out the rhetoric of ban supporters in a piece for The Herald, saying: “Smacking is not child abuse and calling it that is an affront”.

He said the Bill is “hopelessly out of step with the views of most Scots with more important issues to deal with”.

He added that banning smacking “will distract child protection authorities from identifying families where parents are guilty of real abuse and neglect”.

“Underlying Mr Finnie’s bill is something deeply disturbing: it devalues the language of child abuse by applying it to behaviour which everyone knows is not abusive.”