Scottish Greens celebrate Bill to criminalise parents who smack

A bid to criminalise parents who smack their children has been celebrated by the Scottish Green Party.

Speaking at the party’s autumn conference in Edinburgh, Co-Convener Patrick Harvie spoke proudly of a “Green campaign” to ban smacking.

He was referring to a Member’s Bill by Green MSP John Finnie, which has been backed by the Scottish Government.


Campaigners warn that the legislation could criminalise loving parents, waste resources and overload the police and social services.

Responding to Mr Harvie’s comments Lowri Turner of the Be Reasonable campaign said:

“Regardless of what people think of the Greens’ other policies, banning smacking is certainly bad for the environment in which parents raise their children.

‘Fear and confusion’

“It will create fear and confusion for good families and will overwhelm social services.

“If you criminalise chastisement that is, by definition, reasonable, then you are putting good parents at risk of prosecution for no reason.

“This is hardly something for the Greens to be proud of. I hope Green party activists who don’t want parents criminalised will make their voices heard before it’s too late.”

Little support

A ComRes poll publicised by the Be Reasonable campaign shows a smacking ban is not supported by Scottish parents or the wider public.

When asked to consider the statement, ‘A ban on smacking would likely criminalise reasonable parents while doing little to stop bad parents from abusing children’, 75 per cent agreed, with just one in eight, (13 per cent), disagreeing.

Be Reasonable has heavily criticised the Scottish Government for its U-turn on the issue of smacking.

It warns that the proposal risks painting thousands of ordinary parents as no better than violent thugs and child abusers, merely for disciplining their children, and leaving them facing fines or jail.

Related Resources