More victims of sexual abuse and stalking able to appeal lenient sentences

Victims of stalking, harassment, child sexual abuse and other sex crimes will be able to appeal against the sentence given to their perpetrators if they think it is too lenient.

More offences have been 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.

The move comes into force on Tuesday and is part of efforts to make sure punishments fit the severity of certain crimes.

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.

But it has been extended to cover 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, according to the Ministry of Justice.

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