Miscellaneous amendments to sentencing guidelines – response to the first annual consultation

The Sentencing Council will be making changes to a number of sentencing guidelines, following the Council’s first annual consultation on miscellaneous amendments . The changes are designed to bring greater clarity and consistency and reflect developments in legislation.

The amended guidelines will be published on the Council’s website on or soon after 1 April 2022 and come into force on publication. They are:

• breach of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO): clarifying that when the court is dealing with such a breach, it does not have a standalone power to make a fresh order or to vary the order;

• compensation: adding wording relating to giving reasons if compensation is not awarded in all relevant guidelines;

• confiscation: providing fuller information on confiscation in all relevant guidelines;

• racially or religiously aggravated offences: making the uplift for racial/ religious aggravation a separate step and consistent across guidelines for these offences; and

• domestic abuse overarching guideline: revising the definition of domestic abuse in the light of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and expanding it to include a wider range of relationships.

The Council is planning to hold similar consultations every year to consider potential changes to guidelines arising from various sources including case law, changes to legislation and feedback from sentencers.

To facilitate this process, the Council has introduced a feedback function on its website to allow users to tell them about any issues with guidelines.