New Law Targets Perpetrators of Abuse
By Family Law Paralegal Kelsey Faulkner
Abusers who strangle their partners in an attempt to exert control and induce fear will now face up to five years behind bars, following the introduction of a new offence which came into effect this week.
The new non-fatal strangulation offence is of the government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Act.
Non-fatal strangulation typically involves a perpetrator strangling or intentionally affecting their victim’s ability to breathe in an attempt to control or intimidate them.
Campaigning for Change
Campaigners have been lobbying for change - raising awareness that perpetrators of abuse who strangle their partners were avoiding severe punishment, often only receiving a maximum of six months in prison for assault.
Studies have shown that victims are seven times more likely to be murdered by their partner if non-fatal strangulation had occurred in the relationship beforehand.
The Government were initially reluctant to implement change, arguing that non-fatal strangulation was already covered by existing regulation in the offence of common assault.
However, following pressure from domestic abuse campaigners - ministers have made the assault a specific criminal offence under the Domestic Abuse Act.
A huge win
Meanwhile, a scheme that allows victims of abuse to have their oral evidence pre-recorded and played back by video during the defendant’s trial has been extended to another eleven Crown Courts.
The initiative will spare victims the trauma of being cross-examined in court during a live trial.
Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, called the changes a “huge win”.
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