Scotland first part of UK to ban smacking children as new law comes into effect

Smacking is now illegal in Scotland as it becomes the first part of the UK to bring in a total violence ban against children.

Physically disciplining kids is still permitted in other parts of the UK if it for a "reasonable" reason, according to the Children’s Act 2004.

Scotland has now given children the same protection from assaults as adults, making smacking across the country illegal.

Children’s Minister Marie Todd said she is "very pleased" Scotland became the first part of the UK to "ensure children" are protected.

She said: "I’m very pleased that Scotland has become the first part of the UK to legislate to ensure that children, without exception, have the same protection from assault as adults.

"This outdated defence has no place in modern Scotland. It can never be reasonable to strike a child."

Joanna Barrett, from NSPCC Scotland, said the move was "common sense" and welcomes any law that "sets out in clear terms physical punishment should no longer be part of childhood."

She said: "This law sets out in clear terms that physical punishment should no longer be part of childhood in Scotland and it marks a momentous step in making it a country where children's rights are truly recognised, respected and fulfilled."

But the law changes have met opposition from some.

Be Reasonable Scotland said parents who continue to smack their children could face blacklisting or even criminal records for smacking.

A spokesman said families could face prosecution for "even the mildest physical discipline," despite being previously loving parents.

Green MSP John Finnie, who introduced the changes, disagreed with this and said throughout his campaign he met people who thought smacking was already illegal.

Be Reasonable Scotland: "In the years ahead, loving parents who have had no contact with the authorities previously and who present no risk to their children will face stressful intervention, blacklisting on police databases and even criminal records for smacking.

"The majority of Scots see this as an injustice, not a positive change."

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