Publication types:

Publication topics:
Child cruelty

Published on:

4 August 2022

consultation paper on a revision to sentencing guidelines for child cruelty offences.

This consultation closed on 27 October 2022.

What was this consultation about?

The Sentencing Council consulted on a revision to the child cruelty guidelines.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 raised the maximum penalties for two offences: causing or allowing a child to die or suffer serious physical harm, and cruelty to a child.

The Council decided that the existing sentencing guidelines for these offences, which came into force on 1 January 2019, should be revised to reflect the changes in maximum penalties.

Proposed changes to the existing guidelines included introducing a new category of ‘very high culpability’ to cover the most serious cases of child cruelty including death, serious harm or neglect, reflecting the higher maximum penalties.

Who was asked to respond?

The Council sought views from anyone who uses sentencing guidelines in their work or who has an interest in sentencing. We also sought views from individuals and organisations representing anyone who could be affected by the proposals including:

  • victims and their families;
  • defendants and their families;
  • those under probation supervision or youth offending teams/supervision; and
  • those with protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

What did we want to know?

Through this consultation process, the Council sought views on:

  • the proposal for a new culpability level of ‘very high culpability’; and
  • the proposed revised sentencing levels for that new level of culpability

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