Scotland becomes first country to ban smacking

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Scotland has become the first country in the UK to make it a criminal offence for parents to smack their children.

The ban on all physical punishment was backed overwhelmingly by 84 votes to 29 by the Scottish Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

The move will give children in Scotland the same protection from assault as adults when it comes into force.

Parents and carers are currently allowed to use “reasonable” physical force to discipline their children.

The smacking ban bill was introduced by Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie, a former police officer, who won the support of the SNP, Labour and Lib Dems as well as his own party and many children’s charities.

Mr Finnie said smacking teaches children that “might is right”, and that the ban would “send a strong message that violence is never acceptable in any setting”.

He also said there was “irrefutable” evidence that physical punishment damages children, is not an effective form of discipline and can escalate into physical abuse.

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