Over the last 10 months the Evening Telegraph has campaigned for automatic jail terms for those who prey on children.
Time and time again since Our Kids Need Justice was launched we have seen perverts escaping the clutches of justice.
Earlier this month, West End sex offender Charles Gowans avoided jail despite having sexually assaulted a child in front of the boy’s mother.
And in recent days Alan Low, of Barnhill, dodged a jail term despite being caught with hundreds of vile images of child abuse of the worst kind.
Now, the Tele has launched a petition, calling on readers to join our campaign to have the sentencing guidelines changed.
We hope to have the issue debated in the chambers of Holyrood.
Several Tayside MSPs have agreed the laws guiding how sentencing is carried out should be put up for review.
MSPs Joe FitzPatrick and Shona Robison have thrown their weight behind the petition.
Mr FitzPatrick said child sexual exploitation leaves a “devastating impact on victims and their families”.
He added: “It is vital that perpetrators are stopped, brought to justice, and measures are taken to ensure that they do not re-offend.
“Child sexual exploitation is an often hidden form of child sexual abuse that happens in person and online and has a devastating impact on victims and their families. No child or young person should experience abuse and our aim is to eliminate child sexual exploitation in Scotland.
“Sexual offending has increasingly become an issue of public concern in recent years.”
Mr FitzPatrick said the Scottish Sentencing Council has begun work to reshape sentencing guidelines for sex offences.
He added: “I welcome that they have set out proposals to develop sentencing guidelines for sexual offences, which they expect will bring significant benefits to the courts, those who have been involved in such cases, and to the wider public.”
Over recent months we have spoken to victims of child abuse, a retired sheriff and children’s charities about the sentencing of predators who have groomed and abused children.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said sentencing such as this “frustrates” people who just want to protect their children.
He said the public “expects punishment, not a soft touch”.
He added: “In the case of Mr Low it is yet another example of a sex offender being effectively let off for a reprehensible crime.
“There is no excuse for accessing child images and websites for that material.
“When courts hand down sentences, the public expect punishment, not a soft touch.
“But because the SNP are abolishing jail terms of less than a year, sheriffs will be forced to hand out community sentences.
“This creates extra pressure on a community justice system that is struggling to cope.
“And it frustrates Scots who just want to know their children are protected.”
Ms Robison said: “I welcome the work being done by the Scottish Sentencing Council in developing sentencing guidelines for sexual offences.
“Guidelines will help ensure consistency of sentencing and help to protect our children.
“It is fundamentally important that we get this right to ensure justice for victims.”
there are few things more abhorrent than paedophilia.
It goes without saying that nobody deserves to be the victim of crime, but there can never be any justification for any kind of abuse against an innocent child.
Those who prey on our children deserve to feel the full force of the law – that does not mean a mere slap on the wrist.
Using a child for sexual gratification is a sickening offence that can only be adequately dealt with through the imposition of a custodial sentence.
We know there is a reluctance to impose jail terms, and appreciate some crimes can be dealt with through alternatives to prison.
Paedophilia is not such an offence.