Non fatal strangulation to become a specific crime in UK

SMQ Legal practice both criminal defence as well as family law which makes our lawyers based in Oxford well informed to assessing cases from a victim and perpetrator perspective.
Perpetrators of non fatal strangulation are set to face up to seven years in prison after a sustained campaign by activists and survivors. The change in the law is to be made as part of the domestic violence bill which is set to be enacted in 2021. The bill has been drafted to prohibit the cross examination of victims in person during family law proceedings in certain circumstances and to tighten up the law surrounding violent offences, sexual offences, and other abusive behaviour.
Studies indicate that between 3-10% of the adult population have been subjected to strangulation. A study from 2-19 indicated that an estimated 1.6 million women in the uk were subjected to domestic abuse in the proceeding year. On average the police in the UK receive 100 calls an hour relating to domestic abuse.
The change in the law has been welcomed and hard won. Some argued that Non-fatal strangulation could be dealt with under existing legislation, for example assault. This however fails to take into account the seriousness and sinister nature of the offence. New legislation will provide the necessary sentencing powers to properly punish those who threaten anyone with this behaviour. Such an offence should not be normalised and should be highlighted as a particularly threatening abuse technique.
It is hoped that this new categorisation of strangulation as a standalone offence will offer more protection to domestic abuse victims.

There are many victim support agencies in Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties who can offer support so if you are a victim, please do contact us so we can support you.

By Jennifer Arkell

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