Policy update October 2019

Scottish Parliament

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill

This Bill which removes the justifiable assault defence to the assault of a child from the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 reaches its stage 3 reading on 3rd October. If passed children will have the same protection under the law as adults.

The first clause of the Bill states:

The rule of law, that the physical punishment of a child in the exercise of a parental right 5 or a right derived from having charge or care of the child is justifiable and is therefore not an assault, ceases to have effect.

Scottish Government has an implementation group which PAS is sitting on. You can read PAS' response to the Bill here.

Children (Scotland) Bill

The Children (Scotland) Bill has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

The Bill mainly makes changes to how disputes in relation to children are settled when families break down. This includes changes to ensure that the voice of the child is heard in court proceedings. The Bill also includes measures aimed at protecting the best interests of children, such as requiring child contact centres to be regulated.

The Scottish Parliament is currently consulting on the Bill (closing date 15th Nov 19)

The Scottish Government has also published a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy. This Strategy sets out other actions being taken by the Scottish Government and others to improve family justice in Scotland.

Consultations

Out of School Care

The Scottish Government has produced a draft framework on Out of School Care setting out what is known about the out of school care sector in Scotland and asking questions about what the Scottish Government can do to support families in accessing high quality, flexible and affordable services which benefit children and parents and carers.

The consultation closes on 6th December 19

UNCRC

The Scottish Government has committed to incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law. The Scottish Government consultation on this has closed. The consultation responses were published recently.

More information about incorporation of the UNCRC here.

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

On 19 September, the Deputy First Minister announced his intention to withdraw the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill and to seek to repeal Parts 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. 
You can find more information about this here.