Scottish ban on parental smacking advances

Plans to criminalise parents in Scotland for smacking their children have taken a step forward.

Currently, parents are permitted to discipline their children with a light smack but the Scottish Government wants to make this illegal.

The Scottish Government is backing the Bill.

Public opposition

A spokesperson for Be Reasonable, the campaign group spearheading opposition to the Bill, said the ban removes a parent’s freedom and responsibility to discipline their children.

“This Bill could see them in the dock for simply tapping their kids on the back of the hand or pulling them away from the side of the road.

“It’s no wonder the 2017 ComRes poll shows the ban remains opposed by almost 75 per cent of Scots.”

The same poll also found that two thirds say it is sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child.


The Member’s Bill has been put forward by John Finnie who was elected as Scottish Greens MSP for Highland and Islands in 2016.

The spokesperson said it is “astounding that the MSP behind this is trying to dictate to the vast majority while freely admitting that he smacked his own kids and they turned out ‘well rounded’”.

“Around 85 per cent of adults were smacked as children. Do they think they were subjected to ‘inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’, as has been claimed by supporters of the Bill?”

They added: “Police and social workers are already overstretched.

“Criminalising loving parents for giving a light, infrequent smack for the purpose of teaching right from wrong will inevitably divert valuable resources away from children who genuinely need help.”


The last attempt to ban smacking in 2002 was ditched after being branded ‘unworkable’ by MSPs.

The SNP then called that Bill’s demise “a victory for common sense”.