In response to the Sentencing Council’s proposed new guidelines for intimidatory and domestic abuse, we provided feedback detailing the Trust’s views on the sentencing of the offences included in this consultation.

The consultation considered how those convicted of intimidatory offences and domestic abuse should be sentenced. The intimidatory offences guideline covered harassment, stalking, disclosing private sexual images, controlling or coercive behaviour, and threats to kill.  The domestic abuse guideline covered all offences which occur within a domestic context such as assault, sexual offences or criminal damage.

Due to our interest and expertise in stalking, we have focused on sections three and four:

  • Section Three: Harassment/racially or religiously aggravated harassment (putting people in fear of violence), stalking/racially or religiously aggravated stalking (involving fear of violence)
  • Section Four: Harassment/racially or religiously aggravated harassment, stalking/racially or religiously aggravated stalking

We welcome the Sentencing Council’s focus on domestic abuse and intimidatory offences, particularly the intention to give clear guidelines on sentences for stalking convictions. We have concerns about the way that stalking has been handled in this consultation. We are concerned that the crime of stalking needs to be explained within the guidelines to draw a clear distinction between this and other offences, including harassment. We would recommend that the psychological nature of this crime, and the impact it has on the victim’s mental wellbeing, is better recognised and that sentencing should reflect this.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s full response to the consultation can be found here.