Abuja - A 21-year-old UK woman has been sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of having a long-term sexual relationship with a child (not her own), reported the Mail Online.
According to the report, she had been 16 when she began sleeping with the boy who was eight years old at the time. She was caught when the boy began bragging about the affair at school; he claims they slept together up to 50 times.
The immaturity factor
The woman, who is now a mother, was found to be highly immature by the judge concerned, who sentenced her to two years, of which she’ll only serve 12 months. This, the judge said, was to prevent further embarrassment for the woman and her family and to assist her in rebuilding her life. He also inferred that she was a low risk to re-offend and that she understood that what she’d done was wrong. In addition, she’ll be placed on the sexual offender’s registry for ten years and will not be allowed contact with children under the age of 16.
Why the low sentence?
There are many factors involved in cases of sexual offences against children. The courts are obliged to act in favour of the victim, but also to provide appropriate sentencing for offenders that are found to be guilty.
Taken into account may be the offender’s mental and emotional capacity and maturity. Other aspects taken into account would be the offender’s history and social background. If the person is a repeat offender, for example, this may impact the sentence. If the offender was abused as a child, this can also direct sentencing. Another controversial factor is whether or not the offender has responsibilities such as children of their own and whether or not the offender is considered to be an active member of the community.
The best-case scenario is that the offender is monitored throughout prison time and then provided with rehabilitation into society, with precautions made to protect society against that person. Some sex offenders are chronic re-offenders.
Communities fear that convicted sex offenders may be released from prison into local areas and that they are not properly monitored. They suggest that communities be made aware of the presence of people who are listed on the sexual offender’s registry, but this is not the case as even the offender has the right to privacy under some circumstances.
Presumably the judge, together with the social workers, families of the victim and offender and other parties would have worked together to conclude that the woman was low-risk for reoffending.
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