Warning: this article contains content on sexual assault and murder which may be triggering for some readers. 

The government has announced that it will introduce changes to the law to give longer prison sentences to domestic abusers who murder their partners or former partners.

The announcement follows the independent Domestic Homicide Sentencing Review carried out by Clare Wade KC, who found that the current sentencing framework does not adequately reflect the fact that many domestic homicides follow years of abuse.

What will change?

  • Murderers with a history of coercive or controlling behaviour towards a partner or former partner will face longer prison sentences.
  • Those who use gratuitous or excessive violence in their murder of a partner or former partner will also face longer sentences.

These changes to the law to introduce these aggravating factors in sentencing decisions form part of a wider range of government measures to tackle domestic abuse including new measures to protect victims and new perpetrator intervention guidance.

What else is being reviewed?

The government will provide a response in full to the Domestic Homicide Sentencing Review in summer 2023.  At the same time, the government will launch a public consultation on whether a higher sentencing starting point of 25 years should be applied to murder cases where the murderer has a history of controlling and coercive behaviour.  Currently, this higher starting point only applies to murders where a knife is taken to the scene with intent.

In the meantime, the government has asked the independent Sentencing Council to review the manslaughter sentencing guidelines where deaths occur during rough sex.

What does this mean for employers?

Join EIDA, and encourage others to join, so that we can play our part in supporting those impacted by domestic abuse and reducing the number of people dying every year as a result of this insidious crime.

Find out more about the domestic homicide sentencing review here

Find out more about the new laws here

Read the latest report on Domestic Homicides here


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