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New approach to sentencing in sexual assault and rape cases

Plans to make sentencing in cases of sexual assault and rape more consistent and transparent have been set out by a senior Scottish judge.

 

Lady Dorrian, Lord Justice Clerk and Chair of the Scottish Sentencing Council, has laid out plans for guidelines on sexual offences in a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf.

This news follows calls for Holyrood to prioritise producing new specific guidelines.

Victim Support Scotland wants victims and witnesses to be at the heart of criminal justice in Scotland, and therefore hopes this approach to new guidelines will bring benefits to victims of such crimes, the wider public and the justice system.

In her letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Lady Dorrian said: “At its most recent meeting on 2 May 2019, the Council discussed its approach to the development of guidelines on sexual offences.

 

“Given the wide-ranging nature of sexual offending, the Council has decided to develop multiple guidelines focusing on particular sexual offences, rather than a single guideline covering all offences. This will allow each topic to be given in-depth consideration, and for the first guidelines on sexual offending to be produced more quickly.

 

“Taking into account the information we have gathered to date, the Council has decided to begin its work on sexual offences by developing sentencing guidelines in relation to rape, sexual assault, and indecent images of children.”

 

There is already some preparatory work under work by the Scottish Sentencing Council looking into sexual offences which includes discussions with the judiciary and victim support organisations to explore challenged in sentencing, priority areas for guidance, and topics for further research.

Find out more at the Scottish Sentencing Council.


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