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

Under current legislation parents and carers can use “reasonable” force to discipline children.

But on Thursday MSPs voted in favour of a smacking ban which would give children the same protection from violence as adults by removing the defence of justifiable assault.

All physical punishment is already banned in schools and other educational settings but yesterday MSPs voted by 84 to 29 in favour of the Bill at the Scottish Government.

The change to the law was originally proposed by Scottish Greens MSP, John Finnie, who said the result sent a “strong message” that violence is never acceptable: “I am absolutely delighted that the Scottish Parliament has taken this historic and courageous step.

“Physical violence has no place in 21st century Scotland. The international evidence tells us that it can have serious impacts on children, and that it is not effective.”

Ahead of the vote, Mr Finnie explained why he believed the move was so important: “This evening the Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to show courageous leadership by putting in place vital legal protections for Scotland’s children.

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