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Increase minimum and maximum sentences for all sexual offences

Submitted by Simran Shah on Monday 1st March 2021

Published on Friday 9th April 2021

Current status: Closed

Closed: Saturday 9th October 2021

Signatures: 24,186

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

abuse ~ Assault ~ Assaulted ~ Child ~ Crime ~ INCREASE ~ Justices ~ Minimum ~ Time ~ Up

Petition Action

Increase minimum and maximum sentences for all sexual offences

Petition Details

I believe that the current sentence for people who have committed rape, who have groomed people or those who have sexually assaulted another member of the public is not long enough, and victims of these crimes deserve to get their justice.

Additional Information

A lot victims of these crimes do not come forward as they do not believe that the time that their offenders will receive is long enough, and I would like to bring this up as something that should be changed. Sexual assault, child sexual abuse, grooming and rape does not receive sufficient sentences, where as other offences with less significant harm to others does. I strongly believe that people who are victims of these above stated offences do not get the justice that they receive.

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Tuesday 15th June 2021

We are committed to keeping people safe from all forms of sexual violence. Those found guilty of these horrendous crimes should receive sentences which reflect the seriousness of these offences.

The maximum penalty for rape is life imprisonment. In certain circumstances, where offenders are convicted of a repeat serious sexual offence, including rape, the law provides a minimum sentence of life imprisonment. In 2020 the average custodial sentence given to adult offenders for all rape offences was just over 10 years. Other sexual offences also carry high maximum penalties, with life imprisonment for other serious offences, including many against children.

Sentencing is entirely a matter for our independent courts, taking into account all the circumstances of each individual case. We have seen an overall increase of 13% in the average custodial sentence length (ACSL) handed down for sexual offences between 2010 and 2020. For example, the ACSL given to adult offenders for rape offences where the victim was 13 or over has increased by 19 months over the last decade.

The ACSL for rape of a child under 13 has increased from 105.3 months in 2010 to 135.7 months in 2020, with the ACSL for sexual assault of a child under 13 by penetration increasing by 9 months across the same period.

Last year we passed legislation to ensure that serious sexual and violent offenders receiving a standard determinate sentence (SDS) of over seven years serve two thirds of their sentence in custody, instead of half. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will extend this change to a further cohort of offenders so that those sentenced to an SDS between 4 and 7 years for certain offences involving sexual or physical violence (where that offence attracts a maximum penalty of life), including rape, will serve two thirds of their sentence in custody.

The government keeps all criminal penalties under review, and we are determined to improve how the criminal justice system handles sexual violence.

We are taking action to improve outcomes for rape cases through our robust, end-to-end review of the criminal justice response to rape (the Rape Review). We commissioned this review in March 2019 to look at evidence from across the system – from reporting to the police to outcomes in court - in order to understand what is happening in cases of adult rape and serious sexual offences being charged, prosecuted and convicted in England and Wales. The review will be published later this year.

We have published a new Victims’ Code setting out 12 key rights for all victims of crime. But we know we must do more to ensure that these rights are properly delivered and that victims get the support they need.

The Victims’ Bill is an opportunity to transform the victim experience of the criminal justice system and beyond. The draft Bill will set expectations for the standard and availability of victim support.

We will consult on the Victims Bill later this year, following which the Government will publish a draft bill for pre-legislative scrutiny.

Ministry of Justice

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