Success for Campaigners in Non-Fatal Strangulation Developments
After months of campaigning, non-fatal strangulation is set to become a specific offence in England and Wales. This announcement comes with huge relief by victims and other campaigners, including charities like Calan DVS, to have the government recognise the seriousness of domestic abuse, and this act of strangulation in particular.
Perpetrators of this offence could now face seven years in prison, under planned new laws which will see strangulation added as an offence to the police and sentencing bill in February 2021.
Non-fatal strangulation has been described as a “domestic terror tactic” by victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, who argued that a change in the law, with an added specific offence, is required to help police to tackle the issue.
Baroness Newlove added the amendment to the upcoming domestic abuse bill as it passed through the House of Lords last week. The Victims’ Commissioner and Domestic Abuse Commissioner voiced their support for Baroness Newlove’s amendment which creates an offence of strangulation or asphyxiation. Read more here
Non-Fatal Strangulation Statistics
Strangulation is a significant barometer in domestic abuse cases which can go on to become fatal, with 37% of survivors considered to be high risk.
Research show that woman who survives strangulation is eight times more likely to be murdered – and could also suffer symptoms for up to several weeks after the incident. These can include cardiac arrest, stroke, miscarriage, incontinence, speech disorders, seizures, paralysis, and other forms of long-term brain injury.
Previously the government had said non-fatal strangulation could be dealt with under existing legislation, such as common assault, but campaigners have argued that this approach minimised the seriousness of the crime and let offenders off with light sentences.
Separate data from Counting Dead Women, a project that records the killing of women by men in the UK, identified 35 murders, as well as another 12 strongly suspected cases between 23 March and the start of July, when Covid restrictions were starting to lift after the first lockdown in 2020.
If you, or anyone you know, may be experiencing any form of domestic violence or abuse, Welsh Government’s Live Fear Free helpline is available 24/7. Call 0808 80 10 800. Alternatively, you can call a member of our team on any of the numbers below. And remember, in an emergency you should always call 911.