The definitive guidelines on sentencing child cruelty were issued on 6 September 2018 and came into force on 1 January 2019.

The guidelines covered the following offences:

On 7 March 2023 the Council published updated guidelines to reflect changes in legislation and introduce a new very-high culpability level for the most serious cases following the introduction of new maximum sentences by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 for these offences:


The consultation on sentencing of child cruelty ran between 13 June 2017 and 13 September 2017.

Related documents

To support the guidelines and consultations, the Council publishes a range of documents. These documents may include consultation responses, statistical bulletins, resource and equality impact assessments and guideline assessments.

Related documents: Child cruelty