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Survivors Manchester Responds to New Sentencing Guidelines

13.12.13 | News

Survivors Manchester welcomes the new guidelines on sentencing, published on 12 Dec 2013 by the Sentencing Council.
All Crown Court sentencers will now receive paper copies of the updated guidelines via their court centre, whilst all Magistrates’ courts will receive an update to the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines in January 2014.
Broadly speaking, Survivors Manchester believes that the guidelines go in some way to helping break the silence of the sexual abuse and rape of children and adults. We welcome the council’s explicit care to deliberately move away from the use of language that perpetuates the myths that surround sexual violation.
We are welcoming of the removal of ‘ostensible consent’ as we strongly believe, along with many of our colleagues within Rape Crisis (England & Wales), The Survivors Trust and it’s members, and the NSPCC and Barnardos, that children can never truly and wholeheartedly consent to sexual experience and in any case where a child has been sexually abused or exploited then this must be fully understood.
We are also welcoming of the council’s decision to remove the word “position” from the guidelines around those abusing their ‘position of trust’, to ensure that the sentencer is encouraged to consider ‘abuse of trust’ in circumstances where a formal position may not be held by the offender but they have abused the trust engendered by their status. The factor now reads “abuse of trust”.
However, it is the Council’s intention to take into account the true impacts on victims of sexual offences and the real cost to their lives and future, that Survivors Manchester welcomes the most.
Our founder and Service Director, Duncan Craig, states:

“These new guidelines are certainly a step in the right direction to becoming fully victim-focused and assist those tasked with sentencing to present those found guilty of these abhorrent crimes with tougher sentences. Having read through the Sentencing Council’s response to Consultation, I believe this will also aid in creating a greater consistency in the sentencing of those found guilty of sexual offences. Like my colleagues in Rape Crisis, The Survivors Trust and Victim Support, I will be monitoring the impact of these guidelines on our service users, when they come into effect in April 2014”

To view the Sentencing Council’s Response to the consultation, please click here

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