PCC welcomes new sentencing guidelines

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore has welcomed new sentencing guidelines for sexual offences as a positive step forward for victims of crime.

The Sentencing Council has published the guidance to help ensure appropriate and consistent sentences for sex offenders.

The guidelines will mean that courts will be able to take into account the full extent of what victims have been through, including the psychological and longer-term effects, when they come into effect in April 2014.

They will also expand the way in which courts assess offenders, looking at the full context of their offending behaviour and motivation in committing offences.

Mr Passmore said: “I welcome these new guidelines as they will ensure that the focus is placed on the victim throughout the whole of the justice system, from initial police investigation to sentencing of an offender.

“Victims of sexual offences are often vulnerable – and the impact of these crimes can affect them for decades. As such, it is only right that the full extent of the damage caused to each and every victim is fully considered by the courts when sentencing offenders.

We need to send a very clear message to these offenders in Suffolk that this crime is extremely serious and utterly unacceptable in any circumstances.

The positive outcomes of these new guidelines are two-fold: firstly, sentences will be firmly focussed on the experiences of the victim; and secondly, it will give the victims of these crimes more confidence to come forward to report offences to the police, both nationally and here in Suffolk.”

The introduction of the new guidelines fits with Mr Passmore’s Police and Crime Plan, which includes a key objective of caring for victims and vulnerable people through a range of measures, including improving trust and confidence in the criminal justice system.