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Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (Northern Ireland) 2021

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Aggravation where victim is under 18
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8.—(1) It may be specified as an allegation alongside a charge of the domestic abuse offence against a person (“A”) that the offence is aggravated by reason of the person in relation to whom the offence is alleged to have been committed (“B”) having been under 18 years of age at the time of any of the behaviour by virtue of which the offence is constituted.

(2) Subsection (3) applies where—

(a)an allegation of aggravation is specified as mentioned in subsection (1), and

(b)the aggravation as well as the charge is proved.

(3) The court must—

(a)state on conviction that the offence is aggravated by reason of B having been under 18 years of age at the relevant time,

(b)record the conviction in a way that shows that the offence is so aggravated,

(c)in determining the appropriate sentence, treat the fact that the offence is so aggravated as a factor that increases the seriousness of the offence, and

(d)in imposing sentence, explain how the fact that the offence is so aggravated affects the sentence imposed.

(4) However, if—

(a)the charge is proved, but

(b)the aggravation is not proved,

A’s conviction is as if there were no reference to the aggravation alongside the charge.

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