Submitted by Kedy Kristal from the Women’s Council.
Strangulation is the obstruction of blood vessels and/or airflow in the neck resulting in asphyxia.
The use of strangulation is often not to kill a partner but to let the victim know the perpetrator could kill them very easily.
1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime and 10% of these women will experience near-fatal strangulation by their partner.
Strangulation in 50% of victims does not leave visible injuries but still may cause brain damage due to lack of oxygen and may have caused internal injuries that don’t show up until days or weeks later.
The use of strangulation is one of the strongest indicators for a significant increased risk of being killed by a violent partner.
Non -Fatal Strangulation is a gendered crime, almost always the victims are female and perpetrators are men.
Despite the high risk Non-Fatal Strangulation (NFS) indications can often be minimized or missed by Police and medical staff particularly if there are no visible signs of injury.
Victims may describe the NFS in language that conceals or minimises the seriousness of the perpetrators actions if she doesn’t realise the potential serious health effects that may occur.
Currently the Attorney General has asked for stakeholder consultation on proposed potential amendments to a Family & Domestic Violence Bill 2018 .
The first proposed amendment is to: Introduce a dedicated offence against non-fatal strangulation based on section 315A of the Criminal Code Act I 899 (Qld).
This proposed amendment has been supported by those consulted.
Some of the other proposed amendments include increased penalties for the following offences when committed in circumstances of aggravation : s444 (criminal damage); s333 (deprivation of liberty) and s338A-C (threats), permit GPS monitoring of family violence offenders and introduce a new offence of persistent family violence.
The Bill is yet to be finalized and put before parliament.