Sexual offending has increasingly become an area of public concern in recent years, with increased reporting, prevention and enforcement action. Sexual offences account for a high proportion of sentencing, particularly in the High Court, often involving difficult decisions in complex circumstances. This is an area of great public importance in which we believe a guideline would bring significant benefits to the judiciary, those who have been involved in such cases, and to the wider public.
There is a broad range of sexual offences for which guidance may be suitable and it may be appropriate to prepare separate guidelines on different types of offence. We held a stakeholder conference in June 2018 with the aim of identifying issues arising in the sentencing of sexual offences and identifying priority areas for guidance. We are giving consideration to the precise scope of a guideline or guidelines following the feedback received.