Tougher penalties for children who use mobiles and social media to humiliate victims

The use of technology as a means of embarrassing or humiliating victims as an aggravating factor will incur tougher penalties under new draft proposal guidelines published today (12 May).

Children and teenagers aged ten to 17 who film or photograph sex crimes before posting them on social media could soon receive more severe punishments following proposals put forward by the Sentencing Council, which advises courts on penalties.

The proposals suggest that judges should treat the use of technology to embarrass or humiliate victims as an aggravating factor when considering their sentencing.

In reaction to the proposals the sentencing watchdog said that it was “aware that through the use of social media, the recording and sharing of photographs and video footage has become increasingly common”.

The draft guidelines outline potential aggravating factors which include: “Deliberate humiliation of victim, including but not limited to filming of the offence, deliberately committing the offence before a group of peers with the intent of causing additional distress or circulating details/photos/videos etc of the offence on social media or within peer groups.”

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