Keep children safe from physical punishment

The law on taking care of children

The law in Scotland protects children and young people from harsh or excessive physical punishment or harm. You should discipline your child without using physical punishment.

It is dangerous and illegal to punish children and young people by

  • shaking them
  • hitting them on the head
  • hitting them with an object.

Contact Social Care Direct if you are worried about a child or young person’s safety or wellbeing. 

 Call 999 in an emergency. You can also call the police on 101 if it’s not urgent.

The law in Scotland

The law says that parents must protect their child from harm and promote their

  • general welfare
  • health
  • full development. 

Anyone caring for children must ensure their safety and wellbeing at all times.

A child or young person means anyone under the age of 16.

Child protection services will investigate any sign of the physical abuse of a child.

Download A Guide for Parents in Scotland leaflet on the Scottish Government website to read about the laws on caring for children and young people.

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