Custodial sentences for child abuse should be mandatory. Personal bias should not be able to take the full role in sentencing for these sorts of crimes
We live in a culture that has come to accept rape and even child molestation as a backdrop to our existence; a culture that excuses the behaviour of abusers while shifting blame onto the victim. A judge may infer that a victim who had consumed a few drinks prior to their rape had in fact contributed to the assault that had been inflicted upon them. Perversely, as in my case, a judge may alleviate blame from a man who has molested a child because he’d decided to have a few pints down the pub beforehand. I would wager strongly that if my judge was overpowered by a man far larger than him on his way home tonight, and was physically forced to engage in even one of the sexual acts I was as a child, that his attacker would be facing a custodial sentence. The sexual abuse of a young girl however may not warrant the same reaction because it has become a readily accepted narrative.
When personal bias can play a role in the sentencing of such a serious and potentially life-altering crime, justice will not always be served. Judges have shown sympathy towards paedophiles before.
I’ve started a petition calling for a mandatory minimum custodial sentence to be introduced for the sexual assault of a child aged 13 and under.