74% of Scots said to Oppose Smacking Ban

Almost three quarters of 1,010 polled by ComRes on behalf of campaign group Be Reasonable were against the ban on smacking. 

The smacking ban was passed last week in Scotland, making it the first part of the UK to remove the defence of “justifiable assault” from Scottish law, giving children the same legal protection as adults. This alteration came at the suggestion of John Finnie, the justice spokesperson for the Scottish Greens. 

A three-month public consultation on Finnie’s proposed bill, which took place over the summer, received an overwhelmingly positive response from organisations and individuals, including the Scottish Police Federation, Unicef UK and the NSPCC.

Scottish Labour's Education Secretary Iain Gray, said: “Labour MSPs have discussed John Finnie’s bill and do believe that the time has come to provide children with the same protection as adults under the law.”

However a Scottish Conservative spokesman said the party would “consider the bill very carefully”, but added: “In general terms, however, we believe the current legislation which permits reasonable chastisement has worked well and that remains our current position.”

In a statement, Be Reasonable Scotland expressed their concerns with the bill, saying: “Criminalising parents for smacking their own children is a gross intrusion on family life by politicians who are totally out of touch with real people.

“It will overload police and social workers, making it even harder for them to find and help children who are being abused.

“It’s one thing to have an opinion about smacking. It’s another to criminalise those who parent differently from you.”

Their research found that 85% of the Scottish adult population we smacked as children, this combined with the possibility that a ban on smacking may distract from 'real abuse' has led Be Reasonable to do their own research and start the campaign against Finnie's Bill. 

Centre for Scottish Public Policy
c/o Digby Brown LLP
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Causewayside House
Edinburgh EH9 1PR
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