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Shared frustration over smacking law reform

Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, has voiced her “frustration” at lack of progress in protecting children from violence.

In an interview with The Herald newspaper on Saturday, Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland, Tam Baillie, said failing to secure a law change on physical violence against children was one of his biggest regrets.

Commenting on the statement, Ms Brock said Scotland’s lack of progress in this area put us out of step with our European neighbours.

She said:

“We share Tam’s frustrations about lack of progress on this long-standing issue. Children are still the only group not to be protected by law from being hit.

“It was almost four years ago, in our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, that we raised concerns that the UK was out of step with other European jurisdictions, which had either achieved or were working to achieve full prohibition of corporal punishment.

“Evidence is even stronger now of a link between long-term emotional wellbeing and being hit as a child.

“Every parent should have the right to discipline their child, but there are certain circumstances and acts that can never be tolerated, and physical violence against a child is one of these.

“As a longstanding member of the Children Are Unbeatable Campaign we will continue, alongside many other children’s organisations, to press for a change in the law."

Tam Baillie is the current Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.

He will be succeeded by Bruce Adamson who takes up the post on Monday 17 May.

Tam Baillie’s interview, including Jackie Brock’s comments, were published on the front page of The Herald on Saturday 15 April. 


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Effective child protection system ‘depends on poverty reduction and strong local services’

The Scottish Government today announced its response to the Child Protection Systems Review Report.

Amongst a raft of actions, Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said the government would introduce new legislation to criminalise emotional abuse and neglect of children.

Responding to today’s announcement Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock, who was a member of the review group, said:

“Children in Scotland was pleased to be represented in the Child Protection Systems review group and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has accepted its recommendations in full.

“We commend the Scottish Government for recognising the need to strengthen our systems while acknowledging there are already strong foundations in place.

“But we cannot be complacent. I therefore warmly welcome the commitment for continued monitoring to ensure the recommendations are fully met and actioned.”
Ms Brock, author of the 2014 Brock Report which reported on the state of the Scottish child protection system, also reflected on the importance of investment, support for communities, and early intervention.

“We hope the Scottish Government acknowledges that the effectiveness of our child protection system and services relies on investment and support for children's services within the local community,” she said.

“Evidence is clear that families living in poverty are far more likely to have their children removed from them than those who are better off.
“Scotland's child protection system, therefore, must be underpinned by a strong focus on tackling poverty and supporting local children's services.

“We must move forward with the implementation of Getting it Right For Every Child, which is internationally recognised as providing the most effective approach for protecting children and intervening early if problems arise.

"With this in mind, we continue to be deeply concerned by the UK Government's attacks on our benefits system and the cuts facing local authorities and their partners.

“The Scottish Government must address these challenges if the specific recommendations of the review are to be implemented successfully.”

The Child Protection Systems review group is to be reconvened in April 2018 to review progress on the recommendations.

Read the Scottish Government's press release here, and the full report of the Child Protection Systems review group here.
Read the Brock report here.

Media contact:
Chris Small

Notes for editors:

The Child Protection Systems Review Group was established in 2016 with representation from a wide range of professionals with child protection expertise at a national and local level, and independently chaired by Catherine Dyer (Former Crown Agent and Chief Executive of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service). The Review Group was asked by Ministers to look at the operation of the formal child protection system and to recommend what changes might be needed in order to protect children and young people more effectively. Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock was a member of the group.

Children in Scotland is the collective voice for children, young people and families in Scotland, and organisations and businesses that have a significant impact on children’s lives in Scotland. It is an influencing and membership organisation, comprised of more than 500 representatives from the voluntary, public and private sectors.




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