Urgent call for new laws to combat non-fatal strangulation in Wales and England

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The Commissioner for Victims believes new law downplays the magnitude of the ‘domestic terror tactic’

According to the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, non-fatal strangulation is a “domestic terror tactic” in desperate need of legislative reform. Former Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove is leading a drive to make non-fatal strangulation a criminal offense, lobbying to reform the Domestic Abuse Bill, which returns to the House of Lords on Tuesday. “The current victim commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said the crime is under-prosecuted and a new law is required to provide police with a method to counter the “size of the danger.” Non-fatal strangulation, she said, is the ultimate technique of domestic terrorism. The data tells us that it is urgent, it is very dangerous, it is very common, and at the moment it is often overlooked.”The data tells us it is urgent, it is very dangerous, it is very common and it is often ignored at the moment.” “Non-fatal strangulation is a serious crime already covered by existing laws such as common assault and attempted murder,” she said. “But Baird said ordinary assault minimizes the seriousness of the crime, while strangulation is often used as a means of control and intimidation rather than attempted murder. “It’s not about intent to kill, it’s about terrorizing to submit,” she said. “An investigation into the death of Anne-Marie Nield, who died after her partner’s prolonged assault, found that he had choked her on pre-submission. A research project led by Dr. Catherine White, clinical director of Manchester’s St Mary’s Sexual Harassment Referral Centre, said nonfatal strangulation is a “gendered crime, with almost all patients being female and the alleged perpetrators being male.”

According to the 2018 Femicide Census, strangulation, or suffocation, was the second most common form of killing in female homicides, affecting 29 percent of adult females, compared to 3 percent of male homicides, according to ONS estimates. According to the 2018 Femicide Census, Nogah Ofer, a lawyer with the Center for Women’s Justice who lobbied for a new criminal offense, said non-fatal strangulation was frequently used in domes. “Domestic abuse workers in the field tell us that strangulation is under-prosecuted,” she said. “Although it is a really frightening and serious form of violence, there are often no physical marks or just a red mark – so police officers routinely treat it as common assault – the equivalent of a punch,” she said. She added that studies show that while the experience of strangulation in the adult population varies from 3 to 10 percent, it increases among victims of repeated violence to 50-68 percent. Two longitudinal reports on couple abuse and sexual harassment found that in 20% and 23% of instances, respectively, strangulation was involved. Newlove tweeted, “The #DABill comes to the floor of @UKHouseofLords my amendments MUST be added to such bil.”

For children in this terrible violent cycle, more must be added! Before the system truly recognizes the effects of violence, this bill will not protect those in the care of abusers.’

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