Children will be encouraged to report their parents to the police for smacking, according to leaflets published by the Scottish Government.
Pro-parent group Be Reasonable Scotland highlighted the worrying advice, found in leaflets aimed at primary-aged children about the smacking ban coming into force on 7 November.
Children are told to talk to an adult they “trust” if their parents use reasonable chastisement. The police and ChildLine are suggested as options.
‘Lack of trust’
Sociologist Dr Ashley Frawley, said: “Ministers have wasted no time in encouraging children to report mums and dads who smack. Why does the government have such contempt for parents and carers in Scotland? There seems to be a complete lack of trust.
“Children will have no idea that telling on a parent for smacking – or worse making something up – will result in stressful social work and police intervention in the family home. They may even be questioned by police separately and removed from their family whilst a prosecution is ongoing.”
Dr Frawley, a supporter of the Be Reasonable campaign, added: “In 2016, when the UK Supreme Court struck down the Named Person policy, judges observed that a ‘totalitarian regime’ tries to ‘get at the children’ to ‘indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world’. This devastating observation rings true again here.”
They may even be questioned by police separately and removed from their family
Jamie Greene MSP, who experienced physical abuse as a child, also spoke out, highlighting the difference between his mother’s smacking and his father’s “needless acts of drunken violence”.
an intrinsic maternal reaction to a dangerous situation when words alone would reap little by way of lesson
He said that when his mother smacked him for playing with matches as a child, “it was an intrinsic maternal reaction to a dangerous situation when words alone would reap little by way of lesson”.
Greene explained that there are already laws in place to tackle abuse, but the new law will risk “criminalising good and decent parents” and the leaflets are “another example of creeping state interference in family life”.
Scottish Government guidelines released earlier this month told the public to call the police on parents seen chastising their child with a smack.
Despite previous Government denials that the smacking ban would criminalise parents, the guidelines direct those who witness a smack to “call 999 to report a crime in progress”.