Scotland bans smacking in UK first
By Rachel Lawler
Scotland has made it a criminal offence for parents to smack their children, becoming the first country in the UK to do so.
Parents and carers in Scotland are currently allowed to use “reasonable” force to discipline their children. The new law will give children the same protection from assault as adults.
Parents in England currently face potential criminal charges if they hit a child hard enough to leave a mark, bruising, swelling, cuts, grazes, scratches or a black eye. Smacking is unlawful, except where it is used as “reasonable punishment”.
It is always illegal for early years practitioners, teachers and care workers to smack a child in their care, although parents may give permission for reasonable punishments to privately-hired nannies or babysitters.
Wales is currently considering outlawing smacking altogether, but there are currently no plans in place to introduce a similar law in England.