The Christian Institute

News Release

Scottish parents face jail for smacking their children

Scottish parents could face prosecution for smacking their children under proposals due to be released tomorrow (Thursday 13th December) in a White Paper by the Scottish Executive. The proposals will be a great concern for many ordinary parents in Scotland, 90% of whom smack their children according to Government research.

The proposals include:

  • A complete ban on smacking young children
  • A complete ban on the use of implements on a child of any age
    1. A complete ban on smacking by childminders
    2. The current law already protects children from ‘unreasonable chastisement’, but the Scottish Executive claims this law needs tightening up. However, the effect of this new law will be to plunge parents into fear and confusion.

      Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, said:

      “Loving parents who smack their children are not child abusers. They smack their children because they believe discipline is part of love, and want the best for their children.

      If this law was in force today parents like me could end up in jail.”

      Iain Bainbridge, Development Officer at The Christian Institute, said:

      “The proposal to put a ban on smacking a child under a certain age is draconian and unnecessary. It cannot be right to criminalise a parent for tapping their two-year-old child on the hand for reaching out to touch a fire when told not to do so. We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out what age limit the Executive have decided to impose.”

      “As far as the ban on the use of implements is concerned the crucial factor is the level of force, not the means by which it is administered. Parents should also have the freedom to instruct others on how to discipline their children. By banning childminders from smacking, the Executive is assuming it knows better than parents how to discipline their children.”

      Rather than catching child abusers the proposals will result in police time being spent pursuing perfectly innocent and responsible parents who are simply raising their children in the way they see best. These measures could therefore have severe and dangerous effects on ordinary, loving families.”