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Physical Punishment And Discipline Of Children: How The Law Is Changing

13th October 2020

Highly controversial the law is changing on smacking children in Scotland. The majority of the public were against the change but a majority of MSP's voted to change the law. It is now a criminal act to smack a child or apply physical punishment. Anyone can now dial 999 to report. Most other countries have not adopted such strict rules.


Explains changes to the law covering the physical punishment and discipline of children, such as smacking.

What is changing

If a parent or carer physically punishes or disciplines their child they can be prosecuted with assault. Under the current law, depending on what happened, the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement' may be available to them.

Physical punishment or physical discipline can take many forms, including smacking, skelping, spanking and slapping.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019 will change the law and remove the "reasonable chastisement" defence from 7 November 2020.

This means that all forms of physical punishment of children will be against the law in Scotland, and children will have with the same legal protection from assault as adults.

Read all the changes and see links to more information HERE