Sexual Assault

Average custodial sentence length for adults sentenced for sexual assault.
Source: Ministry of Justice (2021) Criminal Justice System Statistics publication: Outcomes by Offence 2010 to 2020: Pivot Table Analytical Tool for England and Wales
Offence Definition: A person commits this offence if they intentionally touch another person, and the touching is sexual, and the other person does not consent to this touching, and the offender does not reasonably believe that the other person consents. What is reasonable is to be determined by having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps taken by the offender to ascertain consent from the other.
Sentencing Guidelines Range: The sentencing range for this offence is from a community order to 7 years’ custody, with a maximum sentence of 10 years’ custody.

Graph Explained: Adults sentenced for the offence of sexual assault during the 2010-2020 period have received an average custodial sentence length of between 1 year and 1 month and 1 year and 6 months. The general trend is a very gradual increase in average sentence length until 2016 followed by a slight decrease to 2020. The most recent guideline for this offence dates from 2014. The extent to which this guideline has had any impact on the average length of sentence given to offenders is difficult to determine as little research has been carried out.
Read the full report here.