Mark has asked Ministers at the Department of Justice in the House of Commons if they will undertake a review of sentencing guidelines for defendants convicted of sexual offences against children.
James Cartlidge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice, responded as follows:
Sentencing guidelines are developed by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, which is independent of Parliament and Government.
The Sentencing Council recently consulted on revisions to its child sexual offences sentencing guidelines, which set out the approach courts should take when sentencing cases where no sexual activity takes places or the targeted child does not exist, for instance in police sting operations, as well as a new guideline for the offence of sexual communication with a child. The Council is currently analysing responses to the consultation, and it is anticipated that revised versions of the guidelines will be published next year.