Dawn Davies jailed for sexual abuse, but is there a lacuna in...

Dawn Davies jailed for sexual abuse, but is there a lacuna in the law?

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Photo from the BBC

Over a period of time, Dawn Davies (36) sexually abused an 11 year old boy by forcing him to have sex with her. She denied it, but was convicted by a jury of sexual activity with a child under 13.

On 20th October 2017, she was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for this. So far so depressing.

In terms of the sentence itself, it is hard to comment on the length without knowing more about the facts. But  looking at the Sentencing Guidelines (p41) it would appear to be a Cat 1A offence, so the most serious of offending.

But one interesting question is why Ms Davies did not receive some form of extended sentence? In one way, this is easy – the Judge presumably determined that she was not ‘dangerous’ in the sense met by the legislation.

If it had been the other way round (so a 36 year old man having sex with an 11 year old girl or by) then he would have had to been made subject to a s236A sentence (see our discussion of this sentence here).

This would have meant that the Judge would have had to impose a sentence of 15 years, plus a 1 year extended licence, meaning that when he was released he would spend an extra year under Probation supervision.

Although that does not sound much, it is actually highly significant as instead of being released half way though the sentence (after 7½ years) like Ms Davies will be, he would only be able to be released on the direction of the Parole Board. He would only be automatically released at the end of the 15 years.

The s236A legislation only applies to sexual abuse where there is penetration by the offender, not to other offences that involve penetration.

Is that an oversight by Parliament, or is that a difference that is valid? Over to you …

 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. And any crime against a child is wrong however it must be acknowledged that being penetrated, whether the victim is male or female, carries significantly more trauma and risk of actual physical harm to that child than non penetrative abuse. Whether men like it or not that is a fact. And to be clear, for the hard of thinking, I condemn any abuse whether the perpetrator is male or female.

    • I agree that any crime against a child (or anyone else for that matter) is wrong and don’t argue otherwise. I also agree that penetrative abuse is likely to be more traumatic than non-penetrative abuse. I don’t think its the case that men ‘like’ to think otherwise.

      The reasons I say that this case is another example of the justice gap is i) from the article above, it seems that there may have been penetrative abuse and ii) s236A referred to above means that men will receive far more severe sentences than women for what appears to be essentially the same offence.

      I agree that abuse by males or females is wrong and am glad that you also condemn it. I don’t think one has to be ‘hard of thinking’ to hope that you would condemn abuse by both males and females.

  2. No, not exactly what you said, but my point is the same as before – this case is another example of the justice gap in action.

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