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Tougher sentences for ‘rough sex’ killers will deliver justice for families

Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the news that so-called “rough sex” killers will be jailed for longer as a big step forward for achieving justice for victims’ families. 

Tougher sentences for ‘rough sex’ killers will deliver justice for families

The announcement by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) this month sets out a new statutory aggravating factor for those who cause death through abusive, degrading or dangerous sexual behaviour, meaning tougher sentences and reinforcing the message that there is no “rough sex” defence. 

It comes as the launches a new campaign to ensure anyone affected by crime knows their rights under the Victims’ Code. 

In the 12 months to December 2023, 11,680 violent offences were flagged as related to domestic violence in Devon and Cornwall. Commissioner Alison Hernandez said that while all instances of domestic abuse are unacceptable, the use of sexual violence by perpetrators is particularly concerning. 

She said: “This news will mean dangerous perpetrators are off the streets of our communities for longer and will ensure the families of those killed achieve the justice they deserve. 

“Almost 12,000 instances of violent domestic abuse were reported to Devon and Cornwall Police last year, and we know that because not everyone feels able to report to police this figure is likely to be much higher. 

“I am committed to acting to prevent violence against women and girls and this financial year will spend £9.6m on commissioning services to keep our communities safe across the peninsula, including support for victims of domestic abuse of all ages and also services to rehabilitate high-risk perpetrators. 

“I would encourage anyone who is affected by domestic abuse, especially if they fear for their lives, to contact the police if they feel able to. There is also 24/7 help available through Victim Support even if you haven’t reported to police.” 

Victims of any crime can also find out about their rights under the Victims’ Code. The Ministry of Justice campaign which launched today aims to raise awareness of code and ensure that victims of crime are aware of their rights, and the support available, as they move through the criminal justice system. You can find out more here

If you have been affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence visit where you can get in touch with specialist support and also find useful information to help you cope and recover. 

Victim Support can be contacted 24/7 on 0808 1689111 or via the live chat service at