Rapists 'to get shorter prison sentences'

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The Independent Online

Prison sentences for rapists are to be reduced to reflect the fact that jail terms are "more demanding" than in the past, it was reported last night.

New guidelines will recommend that the sentences for sex offenders be cut by up to 15 per cent, according to The Observer.

The Independent Sentencing Guideline Council also recommends that men convicted of domestic violence should not be given a jail sentence if they can prove that they can change.

Campaigners and MPs reacted angrily. "It is a terrible struggle for women to bring these cases to court, and I don't think we ought to give the message that we think these crimes should be dealt with in a lighter way," said Julie Morgan, the Labour MP and chair of the all-party group on sex equality.

Cases involving "sexual familiarity" between rapist and victim before the attack will be among those considered for more lenient sentencing.