Non-Fatal Strangulation: An Analysis of the Implications of a New Offence
41 Pages Posted: 16 May 2017
Date Written: May 16, 2017
In March 2016 the Law Commission (the Commission) released its report Strangulation: The Case for a New Offence. It made several recommendations including that a specific offence of non-fatal strangulation should be enacted. This paper discusses how well the recommendations will work in practice. This paper argues that, although the Commission’s recommendations will go a long way towards meeting its three main objectives – raising awareness of the dangerousness of strangulation, addressing the current lack of accountability of perpetrators of strangulation and keeping the victims of strangulation safe – there are important considerations yet to be addressed. They include issues relating to: charging inconsistency where there is choice to be made between pursuing a specific strangulation charge or a current generic offence charge; noting family violence on offenders' records where strangulation is involved in a family violence context but the offender is charged with a generic offence instead of the strangulation offence; the weight of strangulation as an aggravating factor to be considered in sentencing; and, the extent of operational changes. The paper concludes that a non-fatal strangulation offence should be implemented, but that important related issues must be addressed if the reform objectives are to be met.
Keywords: Strangulation, non-fatal strangulation, family violence, intimate partner violence
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation