Cracking down on sex beasts

Crime news
Crime news

SEX offenders in Wigan will face longer sentences as authorities introduce stricter punishments for those who groom their victims.

Judges across the country are being asked to take into account the motivations of the offender, including whether they lie about their age or film their offences.

And those who abuse positions of power will also face harsher sanctions, according to the guidelines introduced by the Sentencing Council.

Reported incidents of sexual offences in Wigan rose by more than 20 per cent last year, attributed in part to recent high profile investigations, including Operation Yewtree.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Tony Lloyd welcomed the new guidelines, stating they are a step toward placing the victim at the heart of the justice system.

He said: “As highlighted in the cases of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall, there are some offenders who abuse their position of power to gain the trust of victims, only to breach that trust in the most horrific way.

“And it’s absolutely right that the behaviour of the offender, along with the lasting impact on the victim is taken into account by the courts.”

In the borough last year, overall levels of crime came down by almost 10 per cent but the number of sexual offences increased from 181 to 220.

The new guidelines will also remove a child sex offence, previously labelled as involving “ostensible consent” – that is, where a child over 13 has apparently agreed to sexual activity.

PCC Lloyd added: “It’s simply wrong to imply that any child can fully consent to being sexually exploited and I’m pleased to see that the Sentencing Council has recognised this.

“It is impossible to imagine the torment of sex abuse victims and it is an incredibly brave step for them to come forward.

“The criminal justice system has a duty to support victims through the entire court process and act in their interests, not the offenders.

“This is the only way we can give more victims the confidence to speak out, knowing that they will be taken seriously and treated sensitively.”