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Equal Protection for children consultation: Scottish Out of School Care Network supports the proposed Bill by John Finnie MSP

The Scottish Out of School Care Network has been for many years part of an alliance of children's organisations called children are unbeatable. The basic aim of this alliance was to oppose the physical punishment of children. While there are currently restrictions on the physical punishment of children in all parts of the UK, it is still the case that some degree of physical punishment can still be justified where it is carried out by parents. Therefore, children do not have the same rights and protections as adults against assault.

The legal position in both Scotland and the UK as a whole has been widely criticised by international human rights bodies. In 2016 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on all administrations in the UK to prohibit the use of corporal punishment as a matter of priority. This was the fourth time that the UK was called upon to do so, previous recommendations having been made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 1995, 2002 and 2008.

There is renewed emphasis on children's rights under the UNCRC across Scottish Government policies and the publication of a research study published in November 2015, commissioned by the NSPCC Scotland, Children 1st, Barnardo's Scotland, and the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, entitled Equally Protected? A review of the evidence on the physical punishment of children, emphasised changing attitudes in society, with far fewer parents either using or agreeing with the use of physical punishment, and a wealth of evidence that it is ineffective and detrimental to the wellbeing of children and families, as well as breaching their rights to equal protection under the law. (Consultation paper, Equal Protection, 2017)

Jon Finnie, MSP, has launched today, 12th May 2017, a consultation on the Scottish Parliament website (links below) in order to begin the process of introducing a Bill to provide equal protection for children from assault

In his foreword to the consultation paper he states that:

“I am proud that one of the most notable achievements of the Scottish Parliament has been a collective, cross-party recognition of the importance of taking a preventative approach to keep children safe from harm and to give them the best start in life. That's why I'm launching this consultation to outline proposals for a Bill to provide children with equal protection from assault. If - and when - we do so, then I believe that Scotland really can take its place among the most progressive and socially just nations of the world.”

John Finnie MSP, May 2017

The Scottish Out of School Care Network firmly endorse this view and believe any of us working with or on behalf of children would agree children need equal protection under the law. If you wish to respond, details are provided in the links below.

Irene Audain, Chief Executive, 12 May 2017

John Finnie Final Consultation Document (pdf)

Online Consultation

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