Humanist support for equal protection bill

July 21, 2017

John Finnie MSP has lodged a draft members bill in the Scottish Parliament to give children equal protection from assault by prohibiting the physical punishment of children by parents and others caring for or in charge of children.

The Humanist Society Scotland have lodged their consultation response in support of the proposals. The Society joins a wide coalition of organisations in support of the bill. These include Children 1st, Barnardo’s, NSPCC, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, Police Scotland, Church of Scotland and others.

Chief Executive of the Humanist Society Scotland Gordon MacRae said of the proposed changes:

Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive

“It can never be reasonable for an adult to assault a child. It unfathomable that here in 2017 Scotland children are afforded less rather than more protection. As Humanists, we wish to see all people, including and especially children, able to live a fulfilling  life free from the threat of violence.

“HSS support a new law to provide equal protection for children from assault and call on the Scottish Ministers to work with parents to encourage an end to corporal punishment in the home.”

On launching his bill at the Scottish Parliament John Finnie MSP said:

John Finnie MSP

“Scotland cannot be thought of as the best place in the world for children to grow up while our law gives children less protection from assault than anybody else in society. There is clear evidence that the use of physical punishment is detrimental to children’s long term health and wellbeing.

“Giving children full protection against assault will send a clear message to all of us about how we treat each other and underpins Scotland’s efforts to reduce violence across the whole of society. My proposed bill seeks to afford children the same protection from assault that is currently enjoyed by the rest of society and I would encourage all interested parties to respond to my consultation.”

The consultation is still open for responses until the 4th of August and views can be submitted through an online submission form at the Scottish Parliament website. Alternatively Children 1st offer a quick response tool for those who support the principles of the bill.

The full response from the Humanist Society Scotland can be downloaded from our dedicated policy response webpage.

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