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A History of Scottish Child Protection Law$
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Kenneth McK. Norrie

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474444170

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444170.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Child Protection through the Criminal Law

Child Protection through the Criminal Law

(p.85) 3. Child Protection through the Criminal Law
A History of Scottish Child Protection Law

Kenneth McK. Norrie

Edinburgh University Press

The earliest criminal law dealing with children differently from the adult population was that concerned with sexual offences. This chapter explores the changing policies of the law, from the late 19th century fear of girls being exposed to immorality and boys being exposed to homosexuality, through the more protective 20th century legislation which nevertheless hung on to old ideas of immorality and criminality, until the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 focused almost (but not quite) exclusively on protection from harm and from exploitation. The chapter then turns to the crime of child cruelty or neglect from its earliest manifestation in the common law to its statutory formulation in Prevention of Cruelty to, and Protection of, Children Act 1889, which, re-enacted in 1937, took on a form that, for all intents and purposes, remains to this day. The last part of the chapter explores the legal basis for the power of corporal punishment – the defence previously available to parents, teachers and some others to a charge of assault of a child, known as “reasonable” chastisement. Its gradual abolition from the 1980s to 2019 is described.

Keywords:   Sexual offences, Exploitative sexual offences, Child cruelty, Child neglect, Reasonable chastisement, Corporal punishment

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