Sentencing for rape

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sentencing for rape
  • Sentencing (for both adult and child rape) under the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Ancillary orders

Sentencing for rape

The Sentencing Council (SC) produces guidance on sentencing for courts in England and Wales in the form of offence specific sentencing guidelines for use in the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court. This Practice Note considers the approach to sentencing for the offences of rape contrary to section 1 of Sexual Offences Act 2003 (SOA 2003) and rape of a child under 13 contrary to SOA 2003, s 5.

For information about the elements of the offence of rape under SOA 2003, s 1, see Practice Note: Rape.

For information about the sentencing of sexual offences other than rape, see Practice Note: Sentencing guidelines for sexual offences.

Sentencing (for both adult and child rape) under the Sexual Offences Act 2003

The offence of rape is triable on indictment only and the maximum sentence for rape is life imprisonment. This is a serious, specified and listed offence for the purposes of the dangerous offender provisions in the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020), also known as the Sentencing Code.

The SC has published offence specific sentencing guidelines for rape and for rape of a child under 13, which provide starting points and sentencing ranges based on an adult first-time offender convicted after trial for offences committed on or after 1 April 2014. The SC previously published these offence specific guidelines within the Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline but has

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