England: Tougher sentencing for domestic killers

England: Tougher sentencing for domestic killers

Domestic killers in England and Wales face tougher sentences one year on from the publication of Clare Wade KC’s review.

Ms Wade’s review looked at domestic homicide sentencing, and provided key recommendations for the UK government to protect women. The review found that:

  • when intimate partners murder, women are the victims in 90 per cent of cases
  • of the murder cases reviewed, over half involved controlling or coercive behaviour
  • while excessive violence was identified in 60 per cent, with men being the perpetrator in all but one case.

In the year since its release, the government has taken action to overhaul how the justice system punishes perpetrators, including creating new statutory aggravating factors for murders preceded by controlling or coercive behaviour and those committed with excessive violence.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk KC said: “No woman should feel unsafe in her own home or be at risk of violence from those she should be able to trust. I want to thank all those who have campaigned tirelessly for reform in this area.

“We have taken decisive action to toughen sentences to send a clear message that violent and abusive killers will face longer in a prison cell for their appalling crimes.”

Building on this action, the Sentencing Council has today announced it will add an aggravating factor for strangulation and suffocation to the manslaughter sentencing guidelines, making them more consistent with those for assault. It will also update the guidelines to include specific reference to coercive or controlling behaviour.

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