RLC Briefing Paper: Strangulation in the context of domestic violence

Strangulation is one of the most common and most lethal forms of domestic violence. It is also an act that is highly predictive of future homicide.

Over the past six months, 54 victims referred to Redfern Legal Centre's domestic violence service, the Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (Sydney WDVCAS), have reported they have been choked, garrotted or strangled; however, it seems that in most of these cases the defendant has not been charged with strangulation.

RLC strongly supports the recent recommendation by the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team ‘that the NSW Attorney General consider a review of the operation of the NSW offence of strangulation to determine whether this offence is operating effectively.'

We support this recommendation because:

(a) attempted strangulation is commonly reported by victims of domestic violence
(b) it can seriously affect the long-term physical and psychological health of a victim 
(c) it is an indicator of future homicide, and
(d) it appears the current NSW legislation does not adequately address the problem.

The NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team Report 2015–2017 demonstrates the link between strangulation and domestic homicide in recent cases examined by the Team, and the importance of responding effectively to this particular form of violence.

Download RLC's briefing paper