Jonathan Morrissey
Consultant Solicitor and Head of Crime, Motoring Matters & Inquests
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Date Published:22 Feb 2018 Last Updated:23 Jul 2021

New sentencing guidelines on Domestic Abuse

Crime

The Sentencing Council have published new guidelines on Domestic Abuse for the first time since 2006. These new guidelines will provide courts with up to date guidance on how to sentence those found guilty of charges in relation to Domestic Abuse.

The guidelines indicate that Courts will have a harsher stance on the sentencing of cases involving Domestic Abuse, with the defendant more likely to face a custodial sentence.

The Council aimed to reflect changes in society’s attitude when writing up these new guidelines, referencing that Courts should be using terminology such as ‘Domestic Abuse’ as opposed to ‘Domestic Violence’ which is intended to broaden the charge to cover psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse as well as physical violence.

The guidelines published will also reflect changes in technology of recent years, urging Courts to take into account that abuse can occur on Social Media, via email and the intrusion of privacy via tracking devices.

The effect on the victim will also be heavily analysed when sentencing is being decided. Victim Personal Statements (VPS) will be taken into account, and furthermore the lack of a VPS will not be an indicator of a lack of harm.

The new guidelines come into effect for all offenders being sentenced on or after 24th May. These harsher guidelines may be distressing or concerning if you have been accused of Domestic Abuse, you may need to make contact with a Criminal Solicitor in these circumstances. For guidance, advice and representation from an expert Domestic Abuse Solicitor please get in touch via email or by calling 01202 525333.