The definitive guidelines for sentencing sexual offences were issued on 12 December 2013 and came into force on 1 April 2014.

There are over 50 offences included in the definitive guideline


Some sentencing guidelines were revised on 17 May 2022, and came into effect on 31 May 2022.

Other sentencing guidelines had some changes made to them on 31 May 2022. A table shows the guidelines affected and the changes.

A new sentencing guideline on Sexual communication with a child was also issued on 17 May 2022 and comes into force on 1 July 2022.


The consultation on the draft guideline on sexual offences was open from 6 December 2012 to 14 March 2013. We received 165 responses.

A consultation that sought people’s views on a number of proposed amendments to existing child sex offence sentencing guidelines, and on a draft guideline for the offence of sexual communication with a child on the sentencing of sexual offences was open from 13 May to 13 August 2021.

Offences covered

Related documents

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

See also: Sexual offences – sentencing children and young people