100 signatures reached
To: The Hon. Gabrielle Williams MP, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Minister for Women
Support laws against non-fatal strangulation in Victoria
Please support specific 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 Victoria does not have strangulation specific laws.
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 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 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". https://goo.gl/xHSG8k
The State Coroner noted "the introduction of a stand-alone offence of strangulation, suffocation or choking in Victoria may significantly help to ensure strangulation is treated commensurate with the risk it poses to victims, and remove the need for police to prove particular bodily harm or intent to cause injury."
Those risks include disability or later death, with no external signs of injury, incorrectly attributed to other causes. See: https://goo.gl/XEQFe9
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 not recognising the impact of non-fatal strangulation have been shown to let perpetrators get away with their crimes and leave victims living with violence under threat of death.