Statement: Equal protection from assault for children

On 3 October 2019, the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Bruce Adamson, said: “The Scottish Government already has a duty to provide parents with support and assistance to help them raise their families. This is done in various ways, through maternity care, family support and through health visitors and schools.

“The Government is obliged by international human rights treaties to take legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence. The passing of this Bill is an important part of Scotland providing comprehensive legal protection from violence for all children in Scotland.

“This Bill gives Scotland the opportunity to improve these protections and should be accompanied by a wider national strategy to promote positive parenting, improving family relationships and opening up vital conversations about support.

“Every child has the right to grow up in a family environment of happiness, love and understanding and parents are fundamental to making this a reality. A public awareness campaign accompanying the change in the law would support a cultural shift by making it clear that violence against children is never tolerated.

“There must be targeted resources put into early help and support services for parents which mitigates against expensive crisis intervention in later years. Professionals who work directly with families should be appropriately trained to be able to offer non-judgemental support and advice to those families that need it.”

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