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Scots law changes to protect children

Published: 28 October 2020

The “Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019” was passed by the Scottish Parliament and received Royal Assent in November 2019, and will become law on 7th November 2020. This legislation removes the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ meaning that children will have the same legal protection from assault as adults.

The Act does not introduce a new offence – it removes a defence to the existing offence of assault.  This change in the law will apply to acts of physical punishment or physical discipline carried out after 7th November. 

Tam Baillie. Chair of Shetland Public Protection Committee, said “I welcome this important new legislation, which is a positive step forward for children’s rights in Scotland.  The evidence clearly points to physical violence damaging children and it can lead to child abuse. 

“Children now have the same right as adults not to be assaulted and Scotland is the first country in the UK to pass such legislation. The impact of legislation in other countries has been positive and these countries have usually seen a decrease in the use of physical violence against children and an increase in safety and protection.”

Law Change Poster

Physical Punishment Children and Young Persons Leaflet

Physical Punishment Parents and Guardians 

If you are concerned about someone’s welfare, please tell someone who can help.

These are the phone numbers:

Duty Social Work (for Children)
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm:
01595 744420

Duty Social Work (for Adults)
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm:
01595 744468

Outside office hours:
01595 695611

Police: 101

Children’s Reporter:
0131 244 3780