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Anders Hagstrom

The Scottish government confirmed its support for outright banning physical punishment of children Wednesday, prompting certain UK officials to call for a nationwide ban.

Scotland is likely to adopt legislation that would remove parents’ and other authorities’ “justifiable” assault defense for spanking or smacking children, The Guardian reported Thursday. As a result, any physical punishment of children would classify as assault. Current UK law bans parents and guardians from physically punishing children unless it is simply “reasonable chastisement.”

“Scotland cannot be thought of as the best place in the world for children to grow up while our law gives children less protection from assault than anybody else in society,” John Finnie, the parliament member who proposed the bill said.

“Finnie’s proposals are not a Scottish government bill, however we will ensure the proposals become law,” a government spokeswoman told the BBC. “We believe physical punishment can have negative effects on children which can last long after the physical pain has died away. We support positive parenting through, for example, funding for family support services.

The UK is one of four countries in the European Union (EU) that hasn’t banned physical punishment of children. Scotland would be the first part of the UK to adopt the ban. (RELATED: VA Principal Charged For Spanking Female Student)

“The physical punishment of children is already illegal in 52 countries and my proposal will give children in Scotland the necessary protections to flourish in a healthy environment and encourage the building of stronger relationships between children, their parents and others who care for them,” Finnie said.

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