Victims of sexual abuse to be given chance to challenge lenient prison sentences
Victims of stalking, harassment, child sexual abuse and other sex crimes will be able to appeal the sentence given to their perpetrators if they think it is too lenient.
More offences are to be added to the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme – which allows victims, members of the public and prosecutors among others to challenge a jail term they feel is not tough enough – under the plans announced by ministers on Tuesday.
The announcement is part of work to make sure the punishment fitted the severity of certain crimes and it is hoped will take its next steps to become law in the autumn, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.
The scheme allows people to ask the Attorney General to take the sentence to the Court of Appeal for review – where it could be increased if deemed unduly lenient.
Murder, robbery and terror offences are among the crimes already considered as part of the scheme.
The Government has pledged to extend this so it covers 14 more crimes including controlling and coercive behaviour, taking, distributing and publishing indecent images of children, abusing a position of trust with a child and sexual activity with a person who has a mental disorder impeding choice or inciting them to do so.
Last year 99 criminals saw their sentences increased after a review by the courts, the MoJ said.
The announcement follows the Prime Minister’s decisions to order an urgent review into the sentences of violent and sexual offenders.
Justice secretary Robert Buckland (pictured) said it was “absolutely right that victims have a voice in the system when punishments don’t appear to fit the crime”, adding: “We are determined that those found guilty of heinous crimes such as child sex offences receive the sentences their actions warrant.”
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