The Sentencing Council have today announced new guidelines on domestic abuse, ahead of the extra protection planned for victims of stalking due later in the year. This will in turn, mean an increase in the severity of sentences for those convicted of allegations relating to domestic abuse.

The new guidelines, which will take effect in May 2018, state that offences in a domestic context should be seen as ‘no less serious’ than others. They also state that:

  • Provocation will not be considered as a mitigating factor in sentencing, except in rare circumstances.
  • The penalty for domestic abuse should be determined by the seriousness of the crime and not in fact by the wishes of the victim.
  • Magistrates’ and Crown Courts should take ‘great care’ where the offender or victim requests a less severe sentence in the interests of any children.

This means that those convicted of domestic abuse offences in England and Wales will be more likely face the prospect of a prison sentence in the future, under these new sentencing guidelines.

Further, those offences that take place in the home will be considered more serious than similar offences that take place elsewhere, and non-physical forms of abuse such as threats on social media will now also be taken into consideration.

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, statistics reveal that around 4.3 million women and 2.4 million men aged between 16 to 59 experienced some form of domestic abuse in the year to March 2017. These new guidelines will now indicate a significant change in the way courts will deal with domestic abuse.