UK Home Office; Make non-fatal Strangulation a specific criminal offence!
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Strangulation is a very symbolic act of control which leaves its victim in no doubt that there is a real and visceral threat to their life. If you put your hands on someone’s throat and squeeze the message and terror for the victim is clear. As a survivor of domestic violence - I know the impact it has.
That’s why I’m calling for it to be made a specific criminal offence, as part of the current review of domestic violence legislation. This will give the power to police and the justice system to treat these offences with the seriousness it deserves
Some violence is more dangerous and frightening than others, not just in that it is more likely to cause death or serious injury, but in what it predicts. Strangulation is a very particular form of assault for three reasons:
1. It is likely to cause serious injury or death
2. It is perceived by the victim as a direct threat to their life
3. It is a highly predictive of future homicide
Not everyone uses a strangulation or simulated strangulation assault in an altercation – it is controlling people who do this, and the message to them must be clear. Too often strangulation assaults in the UK are either not charged, or are explained away as ‘sex games’
Research shows that it is not taken seriously, even where the victims have lost consciousness.  This needs to change before more lives are lost. New Zealand’s government is making non-fatal strangulation a new offence that carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.  We must do this too.
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Rachel Williams, Zoe Dronfield
 Monckton Smith
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