England: Domestic abusers more likely to be jailed under new guidelines

England: Domestic abusers more likely to be jailed under new guidelines

People who commit domestic abuse offences are more likely to go to jail under new sentencing guidelines published today.

The guidance provides that domestic offences should be treated as more serious than similar crimes which do not involve partners or family members.

The new guidance will also extend the domestic abuse regime to encompass non-physical forms such as threats made on social media.

There is no specific crime of domestic abuse – it can be a feature of many offences, such as assault, sexual offences or harassment. The guideline aims to ensure that the seriousness of these offences is properly taken into account when such offences are being sentenced.

The new guideline brings a distinct change in emphasis in relation to seriousness. The previous guideline stated that offences committed in a domestic context should be seen as no less serious than those in a non-domestic context, whereas the new guideline emphasises that the fact an offence took place in a domestic context makes it more serious.

Sentencing Council member Jill Gramann said: “Domestic abuse comes in many forms such as harassment, assault and sex offences. The increasing use of technology in offending has meant that it has also evolved in its scope and impact. The new guideline will ensure that courts have the information they need to deal with the great range of offending and help prevent further abuse occurring.

“The guideline also emphasises that abuse can take place in a wide range of domestic settings and relationships, and that abuse can be psychological, sexual, financial or emotional as well as physical.”

The guideline will apply to all offenders aged 16 and older sentenced on or after 24 May 2018.

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