Scottish Sentencing Council to prepare new guideline on domestic abuse
The Scottish Sentencing Council is to prepare a sentencing guideline on domestic abuse offences.
Also included in its latest work programme will be the continuation of the development of guidelines for death by driving, the sexual offences of rape, indecent images of children, and sexual assault, as well as on sentence discounting, and the resumption of work on an environmental and wildlife offences guideline.
Following a consultative exercise with sheriffs in 2021, which resulted in the identification of barriers to, and opportunities to improve, judicial confidence in community sentencing, the council intends next to explore the issue of sentencing people with mental health issues and will carry out research in that area.
A further element of the council’s efforts over the next three years will be in the area of public education. While each of the strands of work identified within the business plan will support better awareness and understanding of sentencing, the council will carry out a range of projects specifically designed to contribute to this goal. This will include developing further resources for use in schools and universities and in training settings, assisting other organisations in developing their own information and resources and training materials, and carrying out face-to-face engagement.
Lady Dorrian, Lord Justice Clerk and chair of the Council said: “With the completion of our first tranche of guidelines of general application, we can now make progress with offence guidelines, the first of which will be on causing death by driving offences.
“Gender-based and sexual violence continues to be of concern to the council and in addition to continuing our work on sexual offences we will begin the development of a domestic abuse guideline.
“Having now established a general framework for guidelines, we will also increase our activity in pursuit of our statutory objectives to assist with policy development and to promote awareness and understanding of sentencing. Knowledge and understanding is critical to public confidence and it is our hope and desire that our efforts in this area will have longstanding benefits in this regard.”