Harsher punishments for people who emotionally or psychologically abuse partners


Perpetrators convicted of domestic abuse are more likely go to prison under new sentencing guidelines announced this week.

The Sentencing Council said the recommendations emphasise the seriousness of domestic abuse, even in cases where the abuse is not physical.

The new guidelines, used by judges when considering sentences for perpetrators, say domestic abuse will warrant a custodial sentence in the majority of cases when “the emotional/psychological harm caused is severe”.

Judges should also give “sufficient thought” to address the offender’s behaviour to prevent reoffending.

The sentencing Council also refers to abuse perpetrated through emails, texts, social networking sites or tracking devices.

Sentencing Council member Jill Gramann said: “Domestic abuse comes in many forms such as harassment, assault and sex offences. The increasing use of technology in offending has meant that it has also evolved in its scope and impact. The new guidelines will ensure that courts have the information they need to deal with the great range of offending and help prevent further abuse occurring.”

The new guidelines, to replace those published in 2006, will come into effect from 24 May 2018.

The Crown Prosecution Service revealed this week that the police respond to more than 100 calls relating to domestic abuse an hour, while victims will experience an average of 35 incidents of abuse before contacting police or support services.

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