Paedophiles who abuse children of 12 or under may receive shorter jail terms if their victims “consent” to sex, according to sentencing rules published this week.
The law currently considers such youngsters incapable of giving consent – so sexual intercourse is automatically classed as rape.
However, judges have now been told that it may be “material in relation to sentence” if the child agreed to intercourse.
The guidelines, which are binding on crown courts in England and Wales, astonished and outraged children’s campaigners who warned they risked becoming a “paedophiles’ charter” – enabling child abusers to escape with lighter punishments.
They claimed the rules gave credibility to the idea that a 12-year-old girl could properly decide whether to have sex with an adult.
The rules, drawn up by the Sentencing Guidelines Council, tell judges how to hand out punishments for some 50 crimes under the Sexual
Offences Act 2003, setting out “starting points” for jail terms for each type of offence, along with factors which should shorten or lengthen sentences.
For the first time they set out a minimum jail term for rape, stating that for a single offence against an adult victim the starting point should be five years in jail, which could be cut to four where there are mitigating factors.
Where a rape victim is aged under 13 the starting point is ten years, rising to 16 if aggravating factors are involved.
A life sentence can still be applied in the worst cases.
But the guidelines also urge judges to take into account whether a child victim consents to sex, stating: “There will be cases involving victims under 13 where there was, in fact, consent where, in law, it cannot be given.
“In such circumstances presence of consent may be material in relation to sentence.”
The rules state that this would apply particularly where the offender was also very young, but they also leave it open to judges to give the benefit when sentencing adult paedophiles.
Criminologist David Green, director of the social policy think-tank Civitas, said: “The whole point is to make it a principle of law that a girl of 12 or under is too young to know her own views or give consent.
“This sentencing rule undermines the legal principle which is there to protect her.
“If a boy and girl are both aged 12 then yes, one would expect a light sentence, but where the man is 20 for example it’s a very different matter.
“It is asking for trouble. This will encourage sexual activity among under-age girls. It will encourage older predatory males to induce young girls to have sex.”
Mr Green called for a clarification, setting a maximum age difference of a year between the child victim and the offender where “consent” could be still be taken into account in sentencing.
Hugh McKinney of the National Family Campaign said: “Unless there is urgent clarification this risks being seen as a paedophiles’ charter.”
Dealing with other types of sexual offences, the guidelines make clear that rapists can expect a slight reduction in their sentences “if the offender and victim engaged in consensual sexual activity on the same occasion and immediately before the offence took place.”
Factors which will increase sentences include repeated offences, rapes or assaults involving gangs, cases where the victim was abducted or drugged or where the offender knowingly passed on an infectious disease and the use of threats to try to stop a victim reporting their ordeal.
Peter Neyroud, of the National Policing Improvement Agency and a member of the Sentencing Guidelines Council, said: “The guidelines should not lead to any reductions in the average length of sentence imposed.
“Indeed, they set out a range of aggravating circumstances that should attract higher sentences.”
My comment – Jon Harris
‘Consent to sex’ these are children for Christ’s sake, I can not believe what I am reading. What ever happened to the sanctuary of childhood and the innocence of childhood. You can not expect a child of twelve or under to understand, nor give their consent, or knowing what they are consenting too.
Since founding this website and the TPUC network, I have been sickened and shocked to the core, on what a depraved and perverted governing system we live under. How can these people in charge of the sentencing laws be given this responsibility, when they come up with guide lines such as these. How can they honestly believe that a paedophile has the right to a lighter sentence, if a CHILD, I say again a CHILD gives their consent. What innocent child of that age would know what they are consenting too?
1.Are the government presuming all children of that age fully understand what they are consenting too, and what their consent means?
2. Does this mean the child in question has to buckle under pressure from their attacker, because it is presumed acceptable for children of this age to consent to a sexual act against them?
But why am I shocked? I hasten to add. When our own prime minister is quite happy to cover up paedophiles within the government. The explosive scandal that Blair, up to now, has managed to hide behind the draconian policy of issuing “D-Notices,” [government orders that prohibit the British media from reporting on certain “national security” cases] Code name operation ‘ORE’ investigation.
Isn’t it strange how Sex education is now a huge issue, it has been well publicised in the main stream media recently about educating primary school children about sex, when most parents agree that it should be down to their discretion when their children are ready to learn the facts of life.
So I give you this; [food for thought]
Does it not seem a bit coincidental that the sentencing rules that have just been published, and the governments plans to change the sex education rules, seem to co-inside with each other. Think about it?
Why is Blair’s government so obsessed with this issue? Why would you lock up a part of a report for 100 years on the pretence of breaching I quote ‘national security’? When the report was about the murders of innocent children in Dunblane, What national security risk does this pose. Was it the fact that it is now common Knowledge that the report [Cullen Report] does in fact contain a list of paedophiles within the British establishment, and the security risk would be the expulsion of these perpetrators within top governmental positions in the British establishment.
Assorted Party Political Perverts for your attention
. Labour Councillor (Newton Aycliffe) Martin Locklyn – Convicted and jailed for 15 years for sexually abusing 3 14-year-old boys.
. Labour Councillor (North Lincolnshire) David Spooner – Convicted and jailed for 1 year for masturbating in front of 2 young boys.
. Labour Mayor (Westhoughton/Lancashire) Nicholas Green – Convicted and jailed for 10 years for 3 rapes and 13 counts of indecent assault against little girls between the age of 6 and 10. He raped one woman on her wedding day.
. Prominent Labour Party activist Mark Tann (who has met Tony & Cherie at Party functions) recently got a 15-year sentence for raping a 4-year old girl on 2 separate occasions.
. Entire Labour Party conspired to conceal the activities of Labour Party activist and serial child-molester Mark Trotter, who died from AIDS before he could be convicted.
. Labour Councillor (Manchester), George Harding – Charged with indecent assault on a girl of 12.
Tory Party General election candidate, Michael Powell – Convicted and jailed for 3 years for downloading hardcore child porn.
. Tory Party Councillor (Wickbar/Bristol) Roger Talboys – Convicted and jailed for 6 years for multiple sex attacks on childre
. Tory Party MP (Billericay) Harvey Proctor – Stood trial for sex offences of a sado-masochistic nature against teenage boys, and was forced to resign.
. Tory Party Councillor ( Stratford-upon-Avon ) Christopher Pilkington – Convicted of downloading hardcore child porn on his PC. Placed on sex offenders register and forced to resign.
. Tory Party councillor ( Coventry ), Peter Stidworthy – Charged with indecent assault of a 15-year old boy.
. Tory Party Mayor ( North Tyneside ), Chris Morgan – Forced to resign after being arrested twice in 2 weeks, for indecent assault on a 15-year old girl, and for suspicion of downloading child porn.
. Tory Party Liaison Manager on the London Assembly, Douglas Campbell, who’s job includes running the Tory GLA website – Arrested for allegedly downloading child porn. He is currently suspended while the Police investigation continues.
. Tory Party Councillor (Folkestone – in Leader, Michael Howard’s constituency), Robert Richdale – 41 year history of crime, involving 30 convictions and 5 prison sentences. Richdales enormous criminal record, which covers 10 pages of A4 paper, includes convictions for assault, theft, causing death by dangerous driving, forgery, drugs offences, possession of an offensive weapon, and sex attacks against underage schoolgirls. The Tory Party election campaign literature described Richdale as “a family man” who had a “compassionate personality”
. Lib-Dem Council candidate (Tower Hamlets), Justin Sillman – Convicted and jailed for 2 years for sexual abuse of young boys.
. Lib-Dem Councillor and Mayoral Candidate ( Sheffield ), Francis Butler- Prosecuted for indecent assault of a young boy.
In the very near future we will be publishing a much more in depth list.