Council hosts conference on sentencing of sexual offences

Around 80 organisations and individuals gathered at a conference in Edinburgh on Friday, 22 June, to share their views on the sentencing of sexual offences, and to help inform the Council’s work in this area.

As announced in its 2015-2018 Business Plan, the Council is currently carrying out research into the sentencing of sexual offences ahead of a decision on whether a sentencing guideline or guidelines should be prepared.

Lady Dorrian, Lord Justice Clerk and Chair of the Council, said: “We are committed to wide stakeholder engagement to inform our work and this event was invaluable in allowing us to engage with organisations and individuals who have interest and expertise in the sentencing of sexual offences, from across the criminal justice system and beyond.

“Sexual offending covers a wide range of offences and sentencing options, and we will need to give careful thought to the scope of any guideline in this important and sensitive area.

“We take an evidence-based approach in all of our work, and we are delighted that such a wide range of individuals and organisations were able to attend the conference and assist us in considering the challenges involved in sentencing sexual offences, and whether a guideline in this area would be useful.”

The conference was attended by delegates from a wide variety of organisations, including criminal justice bodies, victim support organisations, judiciary, academics, emergency services, local government and the voluntary sector.