‘Creepy’ Scottish Government leaflets tell kids: ‘clipe on mum and dad for smacking’

Children will be encouraged to report their parents for smacking following the introduction of a controversial anti-smacking law, an investigation by campaigners has found.

Scottish Government leaflets aimed at children, obtained by the Be Reasonable campaign group, tell kids that physical punishment is “not allowed” and encourage them to talk to teachers, nurses and police officers.

All physical punishment will be a criminal offence from 7 November this year when the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act comes into force.

‘Creepy’ leaflets

Be Reasonable has seen two leaflets aimed at primary-aged children. The first, titled ‘Physical punishment & you’ states that after 7 November 2020, “physical punishment will be against the law in Scotland. This means it won’t be allowed.”

It adds: “Physical punishment has lots of meanings. It can mean smacking, skelping, slapping and pinching. But there isn’t a set list.

“Physical punishment isn’t good for you. That’s why this change is happening. It’s important that you grow up safe, happy and healthy.”

“Want to talk to someone? You can talk to an adult you trust. This might be a teacher or a nurse. Or you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111.”

A second leaflet, titled ‘Physical punishment & you: questions and answers’, states: “Physical punishment has lots of meanings. But from 7 November, none of it will be allowed.

It adds: “These questions and answers are just to let you know about this change. The change is all about you. So we wanted to let you know about it.

“If you’re worried, it can be good to talk. You can talk to an adult that you trust. That person might be a teacher. Or a nurse or police officer. Or you can call Childline for free on 0800 1111.”

Be Reasonable comment

Spokeswoman for the Be Reasonable campaign Dr Ashley Frawley commented:

“Ministers have wasted no time in encouraging children to report mums and dads who smack. Why does the government have such contempt for parents and carers in Scotland? There seems to be a complete lack of trust.

“Children will have no idea that telling on a parent for smacking – or worse making something up – will result in stressful social work and police intervention in the family home. They may even be questioned by police separately and removed from their family whilst a prosecution is ongoing.

“There is no evidence that mild physical punishment harms children, but bringing this stress into family life will do a great deal of harm indeed.”

Dr Frawley added:

“The approach Ministers are taking here has all the hallmarks of the hated Named Person scheme. This ‘big brother’ scheme also pitted children against their parents and viewed all parents in Scotland as potential abusers.

“In 2016, when the UK Supreme Court struck down the Named Person policy, judges observed that a ‘totalitarian regime’ tries to ‘get at the children’ to ‘indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world’. This devastating observation rings true again here.”


Notes to editors:

The Be Reasonable campaign is a grassroots coalition of parents, academics and politicians. Find out more on the Be Reasonable Scotland website.