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26 October 2017, 12:09
Proposals to ban the smacking of children in Scotland can be introduced at Holyrood after winning cross-party support.
Green MSP John Finnie has secured the backing of more than 20 MSPs from across the parliament's five parties for his Member's Bill.
The legislation would remove the defence of ''justifiable assault'' in Scots law, which allows parents to use physical punishment to admonish a child.
The move would make Scotland the first part of the UK to introduce a ban on smacking children.
Earlier this month the Scottish Government confirmed it would work with Mr Finnie to ensure the Bill becomes law.
He said: "I am grateful to the more than 20 MSPs from across the parties who have given their support to allow my bill to proceed.
"The public consultation held earlier this year heard from a wide variety of organisations and individuals and it was clear from the responses that there is overwhelming support for the proposal.
"Children deserve the same legal protection from assault that adults enjoy, a position that children's rights organisations and charities have long been arguing.
"Substantial academic research from around the world shows that physical punishment does not work and is shown to be counterproductive; my bill aims to support parents to make positive choices.
"I look forward to parliament examining the bill and stand ready to make the case that providing equal protection for children - ending justifiable assault - will show that Scotland really is the best place to grow up."
Supporters of the Bill include Barnardo's Scotland, the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, Children 1st and NSPCC Scotland.
A spokeswoman for the four organisations said: "The cross-party political support we have seen in the last two days since John Finnie lodged his final proposal on Equal Protection for children has been overwhelming.
"MSPs from across the chamber have been standing up for children by pledging their support to the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill.
"These 22 signatures and counting mean that the Bill can be introduced to Parliament and this is fantastic news."