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Tougher punishments for abusive or neglectful parents who try to shift the blame for their crimes have been recommended in proposed guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council.

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Tougher punishments for abusive or neglectful parents who try to shift the blame for their crimes have been recommended in proposed guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council.

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 13.06.17 7:47


https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/jun/13/tougher-sentences-proposed-for-abusers-who-try-to-shift-blame-england-wales

Abusive parents who try to shift blame may face tougher sentences

Tougher punishments for abusive or neglectful parents who try to shift the blame for their crimes have been recommended in proposed guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council.

The draft guidelines for courts to follow when handling child cruelty cases specify for the first time that seeking to blame others for an offence should be considered an aggravating factor, in an attempt to ensure parents or guardians are held to account if they try to avoid responsibility.

The guidelines, which cover England and Wales and will be subject to a public consultation, cover three offences: cruelty to a child, causing or allowing a child to die or suffer serious physical harm, and failing to protect a girl from the risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).

They relate to a wide range of offending that comes before the courts, from incompetent parenting to deliberate abuse. Offences could include parents or guardians leaving children home alone or in unsanitary conditions, putting them at risk through alcohol or drug abuse, or subjecting them to sustained and deliberate ill-treatment and violence that leads to serious injury or death.

Mrs Justice Maura McGowan, a member of the Sentencing Council, said: “These offences are committed against particularly vulnerable victims – children – and so we want to ensure that sentencing properly reflects the harm they have suffered.

“Offences vary greatly: some offenders may be guilty of a one-off lapse of care which puts their child at risk of harm, while others may have inflicted a campaign of deliberate cruelty.

“The proposed guidelines set out a clear approach to deal with such a range of offending and ensures that cases involving significant force, a weapon or multiple incidents of cruelty are always treated as being in the highest category of culpability.”

Last year 623 people were sentenced for the offence of cruelty to a child, with approximately 42% of cases dealt with in magistrates courts and 58% in crown courts.

For the first time the proposed guidelines for this offence would take into account “developmental harm” to victims. This could be identified by delays in reaching milestones, such as crawling, standing or talking, or lack of progress at school.

The offence of causing or allowing the death or serious physical harm of a vulnerable adult or child was introduced to cover cases where a child has died or been badly hurt but there is insufficient evidence to prove who committed the act.

“In such cases, before the introduction of this legislation, neither defendant could be found guilty of murder, manslaughter or assault and so nobody would be held accountable. The guideline reflects the aims of the legislation, including, for example, the aggravating factor of an offender blaming others for the offence,” the council said.

“This offence can also be used in its own right: for example if someone in the household is charged with the murder or manslaughter of a child, another member may be convicted of causing/allowing death, if it can be proved that they foresaw or should have foreseen that their co-defendant would commit an unlawful act which risked serious physical harm to the child.”

In 2016, six people were sentenced for causing or allowing death, and 23 for causing or allowing serious physical harm. There are no figures differentiating between cases involving children and vulnerable adults.

For the offence of failing to protect a girl under 16 from the risk of FGM, the guideline advises courts to consider the level of harm caused to victims.

The council said it was keen to provide a clear approach to ensure appropriate and consistent sentencing.

“The guideline takes into account the psychological impact these offences can have on victims and acknowledges that, by their very nature, all offences of FGM carry an inherent level of harm.”

There have been no convictions under laws relating to FGM, despite estimates suggesting the practice has affected tens of thousands of women and girls in England and Wales.
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Re: Tougher punishments for abusive or neglectful parents who try to shift the blame for their crimes have been recommended in proposed guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council.

Post by bobbin on 13.06.17 9:35

Get'emGonçalo wrote:

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/jun/13/tougher-sentences-proposed-for-abusers-who-try-to-shift-blame-england-wales

Abusive parents who try to shift blame may face tougher sentences

Tougher punishments for abusive or neglectful parents who try to shift the blame for their crimes have been recommended in proposed guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council.

The draft guidelines for courts to follow when handling child cruelty cases specify for the first time that seeking to blame others for an offence should be considered an aggravating factor, in an attempt to ensure parents or guardians are held to account if they try to avoid responsibility.

The guidelines, which cover England and Wales and will be subject to a public consultation, cover three offences: cruelty to a child, causing or allowing a child to die or suffer serious physical harm, and failing to protect a girl from the risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).

They relate to a wide range of offending that comes before the courts, from incompetent parenting to deliberate abuse. Offences could include parents or guardians leaving children home alone or in unsanitary conditions, putting them at risk through alcohol or drug abuse, or subjecting them to sustained and deliberate ill-treatment and violence that leads to serious injury or death.

Mrs Justice Maura McGowan, a member of the Sentencing Council, said: “These offences are committed against particularly vulnerable victims – children – and so we want to ensure that sentencing properly reflects the harm they have suffered.

“Offences vary greatly: some offenders may be guilty of a one-off lapse of care which puts their child at risk of harm, while others may have inflicted a campaign of deliberate cruelty.

“The proposed guidelines set out a clear approach to deal with such a range of offending and ensures that cases involving significant force, a weapon or multiple incidents of cruelty are always treated as being in the highest category of culpability.”

Last year 623 people were sentenced for the offence of cruelty to a child, with approximately 42% of cases dealt with in magistrates courts and 58% in crown courts.

For the first time the proposed guidelines for this offence would take into account “developmental harm” to victims. This could be identified by delays in reaching milestones, such as crawling, standing or talking, or lack of progress at school.

The offence of causing or allowing the death or serious physical harm of a vulnerable adult or child was introduced to cover cases where a child has died or been badly hurt but there is insufficient evidence to prove who committed the act.

“In such cases, before the introduction of this legislation, neither defendant could be found guilty of murder, manslaughter or assault and so nobody would be held accountable. The guideline reflects the aims of the legislation, including, for example, the aggravating factor of an offender blaming others for the offence,” the council said.

“This offence can also be used in its own right: for example if someone in the household is charged with the murder or manslaughter of a child, another member may be convicted of causing/allowing death, if it can be proved that they foresaw or should have foreseen that their co-defendant would commit an unlawful act which risked serious physical harm to the child.”

In 2016, six people were sentenced for causing or allowing death, and 23 for causing or allowing serious physical harm. There are no figures differentiating between cases involving children and vulnerable adults.

For the offence of failing to protect a girl under 16 from the risk of FGM, the guideline advises courts to consider the level of harm caused to victims.

The council said it was keen to provide a clear approach to ensure appropriate and consistent sentencing.

“The guideline takes into account the psychological impact these offences can have on victims and acknowledges that, by their very nature, all offences of FGM carry an inherent level of harm.”

There have been no convictions under laws relating to FGM, despite estimates suggesting the practice has affected tens of thousands of women and girls in England and Wales.
I wanted to know what 'authority' the Sentencing Council' might have over, say, someone who might try to argue that the above conditions do not apply to their specific case. 
Here is the official site, https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/about-us/

The Sentencing Council.
''About us:

The Sentencing Council for England and Wales was set up to promote greater transparency and consistency in sentencing, whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary.
The primary role of the Council is to issue guidelines on sentencing which the courts must follow unless it is in the interests of justice not to do so.
The Sentencing Council is an independent, non-departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice and replaced the Sentencing Guidelines Council and the Sentencing Advisory Panel in April 2010.

Functions

The Sentencing Council has responsibility for:

  • developing sentencing guidelines and monitoring their use;
  • assessing the impact of guidelines on sentencing practice. It may also be required to consider the impact of policy and legislative proposals relating to sentencing, when requested by the Government; and
  • promoting awareness amongst the public regarding the realities of sentencing and publishing information regarding sentencing practice in Magistrates’ and the Crown Court.

Additional functions

In addition to the functions above, the Council must:

  • consider the impact of sentencing decisions on victims;
  • monitor the application of the guidelines, better to predict the effect of them; and
  • play a greater part in promoting understanding of, and increasing public confidence in, sentencing and the criminal justice system.

Appointments to the Council

All judicial appointments are made by the Lord Chief Justice with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor whilst non-judicial appointments are made by the Lord Chancellor with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice following open competition.
In November 2013 Lord Justice Treacy was appointed Chairman of the Sentencing Council. He replaced the first Chairman, Lord Justice Leveson, who was appointed in November 2009.
To find out more about each member of the Sentencing Council, go to the Council members’ page.

Accountability and governance

The Council is accountable to Parliament for the delivery of its statutory remit set out in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. This Act also provides that the Lord Chancellor may provide the Council with such assistance as it requests in connection with the performance of its functions.
The Council is accountable to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice as accounting officer and to Ministers for the efficient and proper use of public funds delegated to the Council. Ministers are also responsible for protecting the Council’s independence.
The Director General of the Criminal Justice Group at the Ministry of Justice is accountable for ensuring that there are effective arrangements for oversight of the Council in its statutory functions and as one of Non-Departmental Public Bodies of the Ministry of Justice.
The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State and the Lord Chief Justice, have a representative at every meeting.

Relationship with Parliament

The Council has a statutory requirement to consult with Parliament. This includes regular appearances before the House of Commons Justice Select Committee. In addition to this, the work of the Sentencing Council has also been open to further scrutiny in the form of a wide ranging sentencing debate in the House of Commons led by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

Consultations

The public is regularly consulted about the Council’s work. Once a draft sentencing guideline is produced, the public as well as criminal justice professionals are consulted about it, and their views feed into the final guideline which is issued to judges and magistrates. The Government will also normally respond to the consultations, giving its views on draft guidelines.
There has been a high level of response to the Council’s consultations as it actively promotes them and encourages the public as well as criminal justice professionals to respond. An average of over 300 responses has been received, to each of the consultations run.
As well as consultations, the Council conducts research with the public and victims to ensure that the guidelines fully reflect the harm caused to victims by offending.''

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Re: Tougher punishments for abusive or neglectful parents who try to shift the blame for their crimes have been recommended in proposed guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council.

Post by dartinghero on 13.06.17 14:20

Sentencing council?

Smells like a quango to me....
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