Sentencing Council consults on proposed sentencing guidelines for child cruelty offences
The consultation will run until the end of October
The Sentencing Council has published for consultation plans to update sentencing guidelines for offenders convicted of child cruelty offences, including causing or allowing death or serious injury or neglect in England and Wales.
The consultation is set to run from 4 August to 27 October 2022, and the Council is seeking views on the proposed revisions from judges, magistrates and others with an interest in this area.
The proposals introduce a new ‘very high culpability’ level for the most serious cases to reflect new maximum sentences introduced by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (PCSC Act 2022) for two offences:
- causing or allowing a child to die, or causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm (section 5 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004); and
- cruelty to a child including ill- treatment, abandonment or neglect (section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933).
The proposed revised guideline for ‘causing or allowing a child to die’ would have a new sentencing range of up to 18 years in prison. The new sentencing ranges for ‘causing or allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm’ and for ‘cruelty to a child’ would be to up to 12 years’ custody.
The proposed sentencing ranges for the new ‘very high culpability’ levels take into account the increased statutory maximum sentences and are higher than the sentence ranges in the current guideline.
The culpability factors of other levels (high, medium and lower), the various harm factors and the sentence levels for all cases not falling into the new very high culpability level would remain the same.