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'This is a positive step': Quakers react to Scotland becoming first country in the UK to ban smacking

Parents in Scotland will no longer be allowed to physically discipline their children without committing a criminal offence. 

Under new legislation that came into force over the weekend, any parents who do, could be arrested or prosecuted for criminal assault.  
Elizabeth Allen for Quakers in Scotland said the news is: "a positive step for the country and for families across Scotland.  

"We now all share a collective responsibility to support parents and carers to parent positively as we seek to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up."

The law had been debated for a long time before it was passed. Green MSP John Finnie introduced the Bill after the Scottish Government and MSPs from across all the political parties supported him. 

It followed a public consultation in 2017 where 75% of those who responded agreed with the legislation. 

But for some Christian groups, the law is criminalising parents. Be Reasonable Scotland, a campaign group supported by The Christian Institute, said "loving parents who have had no contact with the authorities previously and who present no risk to their children will face stressful intervention, blacklisting on police databases and even criminal records for smacking. The majority of Scots see this as an injustice, not a positive change."

Earlier this year, Wales became the second UK country to pass a law banning people from smacking their children, but this will only come to effect in 2022. 

There are currently 58 countries that have banned smacking, with South Africa being the most recent addition.

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