On 5 March 2021, Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam delivered a Ministerial Statement on the Review of the Sentencing Framework for Sexual and Hurt Offences. Affirming the Government’s tough approach against those who commit sexual and hurt offences, he explained the key changes arising from the Review. Here are three highlights from the Statement.
1. Sentencing Principles
In sentencing an offender, the Court will consider four key principles.
2. The Government Takes a Tough Approach Against Sexual and Hurt Offences
Minister Shanmugam affirmed that the Government takes a tough approach against sexual and hurt offences. In sentencing such offences, the principles of proportionate punishment and deterrence should generally take precedence over rehabilitation.
An offender will not receive a lighter sentence simply because he has higher educational qualifications, or has better prospects in life.
Minister Shanmugam also outlined significant changes to our laws over the past years to enhance protection for victims of sexual and hurt offences.
3. Changes Arising from the Review
The outcomes of the Review of the current sentencing framework for sexual and hurt offences are as follows:
(i) Increase in penalties for three specific sexual offences, including outrage of modesty.
(ii) The Attorney-General’s Chambers will, as a general rule, object to rehabilitative sentences for adult offenders who commit certain sexual and hurt offences.
(iii) A Guide on Sentencing in Singapore that explains the sentencing process in our courts and addresses important questions of public interest (such as the factors the Court considers during sentencing, and how the Court decides on the sentence to impose) has been published online.
In addition, separate from the Review, an Inter-Agency Sentencing Advisory Panel will be formed to issue non-binding sentencing guidelines. These will be persuasive but not binding on the Courts as they will have to decide each case based on the facts before them.
Ministerial Statement on the Review of the Sentencing Framework for Sexual and Hurt Offences
On 5 March 2021, Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam delivered a Ministerial Statement on the Review of the Sentencing Framework for Sexual and Hurt Offences. Read the Ministerial Statement and the Guide on Sentencing in Singapore.
Watch the video of Minister Shanmugam delivering the Ministerial Statement.
5 March 2021