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Sentencing paedophiles in non-recent child abuse cases: are courts too lenient?

Date:13 SEP 2016
Type the phrase 'lenient sentences for child sexual offences' into a search engine and the results for the UK alone are astounding.

From government ministers to child welfare charities the concern expressed over unduly lenient sentences in recent child sexual abuse cases continues to mount. So much so that in 2015 several paedophiles and rapists who initially avoided jail saw their sentences increased on appeal. In that same year an international report published by Net Clean found that 64% of organisations interviewed felt that laws around the world (including the UK) were not suitable for child sexual abuse crimes either because they were outdated or limited regarding the need for international cooperation.

This apparent disregard for the severity for child abuse as reflected by low-level sentencing has deeply affected survivors of non-recent abuse who feel unsure about the kind of justice they can expect. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it clear that offences such as rape or penetration of a child under 13 (or anyone older) carry the same maximum jail term: that of life imprisonment. However ...

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