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Strangulation to become a Criminal Offence

View profile for Malcolm Underhill
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Strangulation to become a Criminal Offence

One of the terrible consequences of Covid lockdown is the reported increase in the level of domestic abuse. If there is a positive outcome to the shocking statistics that have emerged over the last year, it is the spotlight that has now been focused upon this issue. We have seen an increase in government funding to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. We have now also seen strong vocal support for non-fatal strangulation to be made a specific criminal offence. This is a welcome development, ensuring perpetrators receive appropriate punishment. We must not forget the welfare of the victim; they  should be given equal prominence, ensuring that they receive financial compensation for the physical, psychological and sometimes financial harm that is caused by this terrible crime.

Strangulation Statistics

The Guardian has reported that research shows between 3%-10% of adults have been strangled, with the statistics rising to 50%-60% for victims of repeated abuse.  Two studies found that strangulation was involved in 20% and 23% of cases involving intimate partner violence and sexual assault. The Times reported that approximately one third of female homicides in the UK were a consequence of suffocation or strangulation, in 2018.

Campaign for change

Currently, allegations of non-fatal strangulation are dealt with as offences of common assault. If convicted, the domestic abuser will face a maximum sentence of six months in prison. Clearly, this is not enough as it does not adequately reflect the horror of this crime.

It is therefore heartening that the government have listened to campaigners, including The Centre for Women’s Justice and the Victims’ Commissioner. The Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, has said, “Non-fatal strangulation is a frequently used terrifying practice by domestic abuse perpetrators, to control their partner with people who are subjected to it seven times likelier to be killed by their partner.  Making non-fatal strangulation a standalone offence is long overdue and will raise awareness of the awful risk and suffering it involves – I congratulate Robert Buckland (Justice Secretary) on listening.”

Never forget the Victim Survivor

Although the creation of a new offence, to properly punish those who commit this abhorrent crime, is a positive development we must not forget the victims and their children.

The  increase in government funding will be well received by survivors and all those charities and others delivering vital services, to provide shelter and support.  However, this may not be enough.    The victim survivors are likely to require long-term support, including financial support and therefore survivors may want to consider the possibility of pursuing a claim for strangulation compensation or domestic abuse compensation to enable them to rebuild their lives. It may also enable them to obtain specialist counselling and therapy services.

Contact our Domestic Abuse Lawyers today

Contact our no win, no fee domestic abuse solicitors now, for advice on how to make a claim for the harm caused by abuse, including strangulation, or to simply consider what options and possibilities are available, without any obligation. Call us today on 0333 123 9099, email enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk or fill in our online form.

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