Women’s Aid responds to extension of Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme
Tuesday 17th September 2019
The Ministry of Justice has announced an extension to the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.
Adina Claire, Acting Co-Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“We welcome the inclusion of coercive control in the extended Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, together with other offences routinely committed by perpetrators of domestic abuse. We know that justice is all too often not served for perpetrators of domestic abuse. Lenient sentences are handed down time and again for serious domestic abuse offences that can leave survivors with life-long physical and mental injuries.
Last year the Sentencing Council updated its guidelines to state that domestic abuse cases should be viewed as ‘particularly serious’, and this needs to be reflected in the sentences handed down in court. All members of the judiciary, and judges in particular, must receive specialist, in-depth training on coercive control and the dynamics of domestic abuse.
We hope this extension will lead to lenient sentences being properly challenged. However, much more needs to be done to bring about a step change in the approach to coercive control. Just over 1,000 coercive control cases were charged last year. We need to see a national roll-out of the Domestic Abuse Matters programme for all police forces, to ensure they fully understand domestic abuse and put the survivor first every time.”
If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]