Perpetrators of domestic violence should be given custodial sentences, says MPs

Perpetrators of domestic violence should be given a custodial sentence rather than alternatives to prison in a bid to recognise the severity of the violent crime, the home affairs committee said today.

In a report on the draft Sentencing Guidelines for domestic violence, the MPs recommended a “cautious approach” to domestic violence perpetrators’ programmes until more evidence about their effectiveness is available.

“We therefore recommend that perpetrators’ programmes should not be seen as part of an alternative sentence to a custodial sentence where the latter would otherwise be justified,” the report said.

“Instead we recommend that accredited perpetrator’s programmes should be an alternative sentencing option for both custodial and non-custodial sentences,” it added.

The report stressed that domestic violence should not be treated any less seriously than other cases of violent crime.

It adds that official statistics on recorded crimes and criminal figures should be differentiated by whether or not they are domestic.

The group of MPs support moves to increase training in domestic abuse issues across the criminal justice system and to create specialist domestic violence courts.

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