MPs Are Calling For Non-Fatal Strangulation To Be Classed As Separate Offence Under The Domestic Abuse Bill
Currently, strangulation that doesn't result in death is often charged as 'common assault', making it equivalent to a slap or blow that leaves a bruise.
However, the 63 MPs who are backing the bill are calling for it to be distinguished as a separate offence, reflecting the severity of it as a form of assault.
According to Centre for Women's Justice (CWJ) non-fatal strangulation is a known high-risk indicator in domestic abuse cases leading to homicide.
CWJ - who have been calling for it to be part of the bill, along with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, the Victim's Commissioner and abuse charities across the country - say that "strangulation is a gendered crime (by men towards women)".
They add that, shockingly, it is "the second most common method by which men kill women"; in 29 per cent of women killed by men the method used is strangulation or asphyxiation.
Because non-fatal strangulation leaves little or no marks on the body, it's rarely caught by police and prosecutors.
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However, according to CWJ, the form of abuse is "very painful and the inability to breathe is intensely frightening". They add: "Loss of consciousness can occur in 10 to 15 seconds and lack of oxygen to the brain can result in mild brain damage.
"Numerous longer-term effects include fractured trachea/larynx, internal bleeding, dizziness, nausea, tinnitus, ear bleeding, neurological injuries such as facial and eyelid droop, loss of memory and even stroke several months later due to blood clots."
The Committee will be debating the bill today, which will be presented by Jess Phillips MP today.
Cathy McIntosh, sister of Anne-Marie Nield, who was murdered by her partner, told the charity: "Anne-Marie had been strangled in the past by her partner, but the police didn't recognise that meant that she was more likely to be killed by him."
Harriet Wistrich, director of CWJ said: "Offenders are getting away with little or no punishment for this terrifying and dangerous offence. Police and prosecutors are not taking this offending sufficiently seriously.
"A simple amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill, making non-fatal strangulation a specific serious offence could provide a remedy and help reduce femicide."
Let's hope this bills passes - it sounds like an important one.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 0808 2000 247 or visit nationaldahelpline.org.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock
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