People who abuse their partners or family members at home will be punished more harshly than those who commit crimes in the street under new rules announced today.
The Sentencing Council said the changes, announced today ahead of extra protections for victims of stalking due later in the year, will mean “an increase in sentence severity” for domestic abusers.
There is no specific crime of domestic abuse and previous rules stated that crimes which happen at home should be taken as “no less serious” than those perpetrated on the street or anywhere else.
As a result people who abused their partners or family members were often handed community sentences instead of time behind bars.
But the new rules state that crimes which take place at home are “more serious because [they] represents a violation of the trust and security that normally exists between people in an intimate or family relationship”.
The rules have been changed amid fears that domestic abuse is becoming more common and can lead to death of the victim and cause long-term problems for children and other family members.
Judges will now be free to take into account the guidelines when they hand out punishments for those accused of abuse at home.
They state: “Coercive behaviour is an act or pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation (whether public or private) and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten the victim.
“Care should be taken to avoid stereotypical assumptions regarding domestic abuse. Irrespective of gender, domestic abuse occurs amongst people of all ethnicities, sexualities, ages, disabilities, religion or beliefs, immigration status or socio–economic backgrounds. Domestic abuse can occur between family members as well as between intimate partners.”
In addition the new rules state that just become a victim does not provide an impact statement this should not be taken as a sign that there was no damage done.
They also warn judges against taking into account requests for a less severe sentence made by victims, often in the interest of children, adding: “The court should consider not only the effect on the children if the relationship is disrupted but also the likely effect of any further incidents of domestic abuse. The court should take great care with such requests, as the sentence should primarily be determined by the seriousness of the offence.”
Sentencing Council member Jill Gramann said: “Domestic abuse comes in many forms such as harassment, assault and sex offences. The increasing use of technology in offending has meant that it has also evolved in its scope and impact.
“The guideline also emphasises that abuse can take place in a wide range of domestic settings and relationships, and that abuse can be psychological, sexual, financial or emotional as well as physical.”
An estimated 26 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men aged 16 to 59 had experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales for the year to March 2017.
This is equivalent to about 4.3 million female and 2.4 million male victims. The new sentencing guideline will apply to offenders aged 16 and older sentenced in England and Wales on or after May 24.
Theresa May yesterday explained the Government will bring forward a Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill and consult widely to make sure the new protections are right.
She said: “We want to ensure that we listen to all those who’ve been affected. This Government is committed to working to support the victims of domestic violence, but also to working to ensure that we end violence against women and girls.”
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/22/domestic-abusers-will-punished-harshly-commit-assaults-street/