Victoria’s commitment to a non-fatal strangulation offence will make a difference to vulnerable women

4 Jul 2019

Professor Heather Douglas writes about new laws regarding non-fatal strangulation for The Conversation.

Bob pushed me onto the floor and dragged me into the closet. While I was in the closet he put his hand over my mouth again and pushed on my neck. I started to feel dizzy and was kicking my legs and hitting his arm to try to let him know I thought I would die.

– Doya, domestic violence strangulation survivor

Among women who have been abused, Doya’s experience is sadly not unique. In my research interviewing women who have experienced domestic violence, 24 out of 65 women (37%) reported having been choked, suffocated or strangled by an abusive partner or former partner.

This type of non-fatal strangulation can have serious health effects including memory loss, paralysis, pregnancy miscarriage, and changes to vision, vocal chords, hearing and breathing.

It’s also a red flag for future harm. US data shows victims who have been strangled by their violent partner are seven times more likely to later be killed or seriously harmed than a woman who has been physically assaulted or threatened by a current or former intimate partner but not previously strangled.

Read more on Domestic Violence