January 30, 2020

Scotland’s Smacking Ban – Does it protect the right children?

Grace Houston

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Written wordThe Monster and Under the Bed, 2020This piece is an excerpt from my memoir, which I am currently writing

In 2019, 20% of UK children lived in a house with domestic abuse. In homes where physical violence is an aspect of the abuse, do the adults even consider such a law? Particularly when intoxication with substances and alcohol is part of the situation of violence? Given that physical violence is only one aspect of domestic abuse, how can a smacking ban in Scotland protect the children who do not exhibit visible signs of domestic abuse? In sharing this excerpt of the memoir I am currently writing, I hope to open up the discussion about the unseen effects of domestic violence. This excerpt details just one Saturday night of my childhood. My brothers and I went to school on the Monday morning and the teachers in a primary and secondary school were none the wiser. The traumas of such nights left me unable to deal with the everyday conflict that exists in healthy relationships into my adulthood. “Sorry I asked for black coffee and you put milk in” was a statement I couldn’t make until I was nearly 30. Would the smacking ban have helped me as a child? Is it really protecting the children in abusive homes today?