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Published on:

7 September 2023

  • Sentencing Council response to the recommendations relating to sentencing guidelines in the Domestic Homicide Sentencing Review (html) (pdf)

The Sentencing Council published a response to recommendations arising from the review of sentencing in domestic homicide cases on 7 September 2023.

The review, conducted by Clare Wade KC and published on 17 March 2023, made six recommendations relating to the Council’s four guidelines for sentencing manslaughter offences and its guideline for sentencing offences committed in a domestic context.

As part of our initial response, the Council decided to consult on proposals for adding an aggravating factor, ‘use of strangulation, suffocation or asphyxiation’ to the four manslaughter guidelines: manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, manslaughter by reason of loss of control, gross negligence manslaughter and unlawful act manslaughter.

We also decided to consult on proposals to include a reference to coercive or controlling behaviour in all manslaughter guidelines responding to the review’s recommendation that the impact of coercive control both by the offender towards the victim and by the victim towards to the offender should be recognised in the guidelines.

These proposals for including factors on strangulation and coercive control in the manslaughter guidelines are included in the 2023 miscellaneous amendments consultation.

The review makes three further recommendations that the Council will consider as part of its current, wider review of the manslaughter guidelines and planned 2024 review of the domestic abuse guideline:

  • to amend the manslaughter guidelines to indicate that use of a weapon is not necessarily an aggravating factor
  • to amend the unlawful act and gross negligence manslaughter guidelines to categorise as category B, high culpability any killing where death occurs in the course of allegedly consensual violence during a sexual encounter, and
  • to include an aggravating factor relating to non-fatal strangulation in the guideline for sentencing offences committed in a domestic context.

The Domestic Homicide Sentencing Review and government response are available on GOV.UK