WILTSHIRE and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, has welcomed tougher sentencing guidelines for those convicted of domestic abuse.

The new guidelines from the Sentencing Council say that domestic abuse should be treated more seriously than similar offending in a non-domestic context including physical, emotional and psychological violence.

Previous guidelines, published in 2006, said that domestic offending was “no less serious” than offending outside of the home but that will now change.

Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson said: “Violence has no place in a civilised society – and most definitely no place in the home.

“It is paramount, that not only do the courts hand down sentences that reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed, but that we also have measures in place to ensure that victims of abuse receive the adequate support.

“That’s why in my Police and Crime Plan, I’m committed to ensuring that together with partners and Wiltshire Police we will protect and support victims of domestic abuse.

“I hope that these new guidelines empower more victims in coming forward and demonstrate that the police will listen, they will act, and the courts will recognise the devastating impact these types of crime have when sentencing.”

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, about 4.3m women and 2.4m men aged between 16 to 59 experienced some form of domestic abuse in the year to March 2017.

Angus Macpherson commissions a number of victim support services in Wiltshire including Horizon, and between April 2015 and September 2017 they supported more than 9000 victims of crime.

The new guidelines, which take effect in May, also state that sentencing should be led by the seriousness of the crime and not by the wishes of the victim.