Politicians have called for an end to “undue leniency” handed to some child sex offenders – echoing the Tele’s call for tougher sentences.
Liam Kerr, Conservative shadow justice secretary, has highlighted the large number of underage sex crimes being dealt with summarily at Dundee Sheriff Court.
He said our campaign “reflected the unease” felt by many baffled by “lenient” sentences for vile sex offenders.
And Dundee’s SNP MSP Shona Robison acknowledged some sentencing decisions can be “confusing” and indeed frustrating to victims and the public.
Scottish Labour’s Daniel Johnson has called for sentencing guidelines for sexual assault to be changed, calling the Scottish Government “complacent”.
The Our Kids Need Justice campaign demands every person who commits a sexual offence involving a child is given a mandatory custodial sentence.
Last week Holyrood discussed the guidlelines dictating the sentencing of sex criminals.
The Scottish Sentencing Council is currently investigating the potential to create guidelines around sex offender sentencing.
Mr Kerr said: “The Evening Telegraph has reflected the unease with which many Dundonians view baffling sentences for vile sex offenders.
“It’s obvious there is a huge gap between their expectations, those of victims and their families and the result of many convictions.
“The outcome of this is that many perverts will not be jailed because of the one-year summary term limit.
“Because the SNP government plans to get rid of sentences lasting less than a year, I fear the gap between expectation and reality will widen.
“That’s not what victims and their families would want. For justice to be seen to be done, their views should be at the forefront of sentencing.”
Ms Robison said: “No one would disagree transparency and consistency are vital to ensure victims’ and wider society’s interests are served by the justice system.
“Sentencing and the decisions taken by the judiciary in individual cases can be seen as confusing by the public and victims.
“It is important the sentencing council raises awareness and helps the public to better understand its role.
“I fully understand and appreciate some may feel frustrated by the time taken in issuing guidance on specific crimes.
“I met with Sheriff Norman McFadyen and Graham Ackerman from the council to discuss plans to develop sentencing guidelines for sexual offences – including offences against children.
“My meeting coincided with the Our Kids Need Justice campaign, which has struck a chord across the city. I was encouraged by the council’s consideration for holding a public consultation event in Dundee.
“I also welcome the setting up of a victims’ taskforce . . . to improve the experience of
victims and witnesses through the justice system.
“I strongly believe the best way forward would be to establish a guideline which helps to deliver consistency of sentencing, delivers justice and better protects victims, while ensuring we protect the independence of the judiciary.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “One of the reasons guidelines can take a bit of time to come to fruition is because public consultation is a key part.
“At the first meeting of the sentencing council it was determined every single guideline it produces will then go to public consultation, so there is a consultation for guidelines as there would be for legislation.”