The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides for a range of sexual offences, including specific sexual offences committed against children. The sentences available to the courts for offences against children are significant, and reflect the seriousness of the offending. Several of these offences, such as rape, already carry a discretionary life sentence.
Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent courts, taking into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender, and relevant sentencing guidelines. We currently have no plans to change the penalties available for these offences in statute.