Abuse of trust - consultation

Draft guideline for consultation only. Draft guidelines should not be taken into account when sentencing.
Where no offence-specific guideline exists, refer to General guideline: overarching principles

  • A close examination of the facts is necessary and a clear justification should be given if abuse of trust is to be found.
  • In order for an abuse of trust to make an offence more serious the relationship between the offender and victim(s) must be one that would give rise to the offender having a significant level of responsibility towards the victim(s) on which the victim(s) would be entitled to rely.
  • Abuse of trust may occur in many factual situations. Examples may include relationships such as teacher and pupil, parent and child, employer and employee, professional adviser and client, or carer (whether paid or unpaid) and dependant. It may also include ad hoc situations such as a late-night taxi driver and a lone passenger.  These examples are not exhaustive and do not necessarily indicate that abuse of trust is present.
  • Additionally an offence may be made more serious where an offender has abused their position to facilitate and/or conceal offending.
  • Where an offender has been given an inappropriate level of responsibility, abuse of trust is unlikely to apply.