Sexual Offences: assessing the impact of the definitive guideline

The Sentencing Council has completed an impact assessment of the Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline. The guideline, which came into force in April 2014,  covers over 50 offences including rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault, sexual activity with a child and indecent images.

The guideline appears to have achieved its aim to make sentencing practice more consistent for the offences covered, with one exception: sexual assault. This offence has seen an increase in average sentencing severity since the guideline came into force.

Having considered the impact assessment, the Council will revisit areas of the guideline for which issues were identified.