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Offences Against Children: Sentencing

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 91814, tabled on 18 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how the changes proposed in the White Paper, A Smarter Approach to Sentencing, published September 2020, will effect those convicted of sexual offenses against children.

Answered on

28 September 2020

The Government is committed to ensuring that the worst offenders are kept behind bars to protect the public, and that the safety of our children is paramount when sentencing sex offenders.

We have already legislated to end automatic halfway release for offenders who have committed a specified sexual offence, including child sexual offences, for which the maximum penalty is life and who receive a sentence of 7 years or more. Such offenders now have to serve two-thirds of their sentence in prison before being released to serve the final part of their sentence on licence and under supervision in the community.

We are going further in the sentencing White Paper, A Smarter Approach to Sentencing, to ensure that serious offenders spend more time in prison, to properly reflect the gravity of their crimes. We are proposing to legislate to extend the requirement to serve two-thirds of the sentence to other sexual offenders who receive sentences of between 4 and 7 years. Also under our proposals, offenders who commit serious sexual assaults against children and receive a Sentence for Offenders of Particular Concern (SOPC), will be required to serve two-thirds of their sentence, instead of the current half, before they can come before the Parole Board for consideration for release.