Sentencing guidelines for sexual offences
Sentencing guidelines for sexual offences

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

  • Sentencing guidelines for sexual offences
  • When do the sentencing guidelines apply?
  • What is the approach to be taken in sentencing adult sex offenders?
  • How are the sentences calculated?
  • Approach to sentencing historic sexual offences

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 to be adopted in sexual offences cases.

The SC also publishes a number of overarching guidelines, which should be considered in respect of all sentencing exercises, see Practice Note: Sentencing. Among these, the General guideline—overarching principles (the General guideline) is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with offence specific guidelines and covers seriousness as well as providing expanded explanations for aggravating and mitigating factors, culpability and harm, see Practice Note: Sentencing Council General Guideline—overarching Principles—Using the General Guideline in conjunction with offence specific guidelines.

The SC has produced a range of offence specific guidelines for individual sexual offences. These are on the SC’s webpages: Sentencing Guidelines for use in Crown Court and Sentencing guidelines for the magistrates’ court.

The SC previously published these offence specific guidelines as a Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline but has now published them online (and not in pdf or paper format) separately as offence specific guidelines for the magistrates’ courts and Crown Courts. These offence specific guidelines supercede and replace the Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline.

For more information, see Practice Notes: Sentencing and Sentencing criminal offences—sentencing