Victims' Opinions Considered After Government Scheme Widens

Victims’ Opinions Considered After Government Scheme Widens

Victims of 14 additional crimes, including family law issues, will now have the opportunity to ask for more severe punishments for their perpetrators’ crimes after the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme was widened earlier this week.

The scheme will now include crimes involving controlling and coercive behaviour, stalking and harassment to ensure the victims feel as though their voice has been considered in the final sentencing.

Victims of violent crimes such as murder, robbery and terrorism were already offered the scheme. Now, those exposed to child abuse offences, including abusing a position of trust with a child, will have the opportunity to ask the ‘Attorney General to consider referring a sentence to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration.’

In 2018 alone, 99 criminal convictions were increased following a review by the courts.

The expansion of the 30 year scheme will mean more victims will be able to seek justice where they feel the courts have been too lenient.

Robert Buckland QC MP, Secretary of State for Justice, said:

“We are determined that those found guilty of heinous crimes such as child sex offences receive the sentences their actions warrant.

“Sentences are decided by our independent judiciary based on the facts before them, but it is absolutely right that victims have a voice in the system when punishments don’t appear to fit the crime.

“We are today sending a clear message that this government will use every tool at its disposal to make sure justice is done and the public is kept safe.”

Michael Ellis QC MP, The Solicitor General, said:

“The Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme can bring comfort to victims and their families across the country. The latest extension means that the Attorney General and I can look at even more sentences which look like they don’t fit the crime.

“Anyone can apply to the scheme and although there is a high bar to any appeal we will do everything we can to challenge a sentence that we regard to be clearly wrong.”

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