Sunday, 29 November 2015

Qld to make strangulation a criminal offence

Following on recommendations of the Quentin Bryce domestic violence taskforce, the Palaczszuk government will this week introduce a bill to the Queensland Parliament to make choking a separate criminal offence.

Hooray!

I recall speaking at a domestic violence conference about 15 years ago when speakers came from the US about prosecuting strangulation cases. The two impressions I gained at the time were:

  • strangulation was often downplayed by all concerned- eg, sex play, or a fit of jealousy, and was often not mentioned, or forgotten about
  • but its lethality was in a different league to being punched- because pressure on the throat could cause a rapid loss of supply to the brain for up to TWO WEEKS after the incident.
I have been told by many clients over many years that their former partner attempted to strangle them- sometimes in the context of sex, and sometimes in anger.

Whenever I have raised the issue of strangulation with clients since the issue was highlighted all those years ago, and the risk that they had of being killed, they have often been shocked about what they have endured, raised strangulation with police, but nothing has been done.

Making this as a separate criminal offence will hopefully shine the spotlight on  this  crime, and hopefully bring it to an end. It will also be necessary for police to be properly trained, and be prepared to take action to prosecute.

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