In this response on sentencing policy for assaults, we recommend that the courts should recognise that public space violence is a major issue and that the new Sentencing Guidelines should (a) refer explicitly to the wider harm caused by stranger attacks, and (b) make clear that unprovoked attacks trigger a higher culpability.
We also recommend that (i) attacks on people using public transport or services should be viewed as no less serious than attacks on staff, and (ii) where a victim is left fearful of leaving their home or (iii) where steps are then taken to prevent witnesses from coming forward, the sentence should be heavier.
Click here for our addendum. Regrettably, the final Guideline which came out on 16 March overlooks these points. Whether this was more to do with the way the consultation exercise was conducted than views about the substantive policy, the risk is that if the Guideline is applied by courts as a checklist, those who attack strangers on our streets will be treated more leniently than other violent criminals.