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To: Jacquie Petrusma, Minister for Women

Strengthen Tasmanian laws against non-fatal strangulation

Strengthen Tasmanian laws against non-fatal strangulation

Please support our calls to review and amend laws covering non-fatal strangulation, as well as training for legal, medical, advocacy and other professionals to enhance their knowledge of strangulation and to improve policy and practice.

At present Tasmania has strangulation laws which only apply if the victim is strangled with the intent of committing another indictable offence or fleeing. For example, to subdue a victim so that she could be raped or to make it easier for the perpetrator to leave the scene of the crime. This charge couldn't be used for summary offences, like subduing a victim to further a breach of a domestic violence order.

We urge you to:
1. support a criminal charge of strangulation, similar to those in Queensland and the ACT, to address non-fatal strangulation;
2. ensure laws recognise that:
a) strangulation can cause long-term disability and death, even if the victim remains conscious;
b) the intent of a domestic violence perpetrator may be to instil fear and control the victim, rather than to inflict injury on or kill them.
3. support training to enhance professionals’ knowledge of strangulation and to improve policy and practice.

Why is this important?

A woman surviving non-fatal strangulation is eight times more likely to be later murdered by her domestic violence perpetrator.

Like Victorian woman, Joy Rowley who was choked unconscious eight months before her murder. Her assailant “wasn't charged for six months amid police concern there was insufficient evidence".

Those risks include disability or later death, with no external signs of injury, incorrectly attributed to other causes. See:

It’s a weapon to instil fear and increase control over a victim.

Professionals may miss subtle signs. Training can improve practice and policy.

Victims' participation in life is affected, as are families and communities. Child witnesses suffer disrupted education and their physical and mental health may be affected.

Laws which don't recognise the impact of non-fatal strangulation, or have limited applications, have been shown to let perpetrators get away with their crimes and leave victims living with violence under threat of death.


2018-08-13 13:53:41 +1000

10 signatures reached