New Sentencing Guidelines

July 9, 2018

The Sentencing Council has announced new a sentencing guideline for intimidatory offences which will take effect on or after 1st October 2018. This means that it could affect your current case. Judge Rosa Dean, a member of the Sentencing Council has said:

“Our guidelines recognise and reflect the very intimate, personal and intrusive nature of these offences, which can have devastating, often long-term impacts on victims and their families. They will provide courts with comprehensive guidance that will help ensure sentences reflect the seriousness of these offences.”

The new sentencing guideline covers the following offences…

  • Harassment (with fear of violence)
  • Racially or religiously aggravated harassment (with fear of violence)
  • Stalking (with fear of violence or serious distress)
  • Racially or religiously aggravated stalking (with fear of violence)
  • Harassment
  • Racially or religiously aggravated harassment
  • Stalking
  • Racially and religiously aggravated harassment
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship
  • Disclosure of private sexual images
  • Threats to kill

Why the new sentencing guideline was introduced…

The new guideline was introduced due to lack of previous guidance in this are. Previously there was no guidance for stalking, disclosing private sexual images and controlling and coercive behaviour.  From 1st October, judges and magistrates in England and Wales will have more consistent guidance when sentencing for these offences.

Revenge porn…

Revenge porn is a serious criminal act where intimate sexual images or videos are uploaded to the internet without consent, with the intent to cause distress, humiliation or embarrassment. Anyone found guilty of this could face up to 2 or more years in prison. After the consultation the Council included a factor that would show high culpability on the part of the offender of “repeated efforts to keep images available for viewing”. This was added to reflect the nature and seriousness of online offending as some offenders carry on reposting images online after they have been taken down.

Controlling or coercive behaviour…

Controlling or coercive behaviour can include stopping someone from having friends, enjoying their social life in general, taking part in activities, denying them money or stopping them from wearing certain clothes. This sort of behaviour will be assessed in terms of seriousness in the new guideline. Highly serious behaviour will include actions with the intent to humiliate or degrade someone, persistent actions over a long period of time and actions which cause psychological harm.

Stalking and harassment…

The new guideline will be based around the seriousness of the offence, for example the amount of planning, sophistication and the persistency, the level of distress and psychological harm caused. Aggravating factors can seriously affect the situation, such as sending violent or offensive material to the victim. The new guidelines reflect the recent changes to the sentencing for stalking and harassment, which increased potential jail terms from 5 years to 10 years, (7 to 14 years for offences with aggravating behaviour). The new guidelines mean that anyone who falls into the highest category of seriousness will be more likely to receive a higher sentence.

How Tuckers Solicitors can help you in relation to the new sentencing guidelines…

If you are looking for legal advice about the new sentencing guidelines, please contact us on our usual contact details.

We are always available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0845 200 3367 or