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Domestic abuse victims helped by new non-fatal strangulation law

The recently implemented strangulation law in England and Wales has proven to be a significant step in protecting victims of domestic abuse.

New non-fatal strangulation law

Over the past year, more than 200 individuals have been charged with non-fatal strangulation, a crime that previously went unpunished due to the lack of visible injury signs.

The law

The law, which was introduced as part of a broader reform of domestic abuse legislation, has allowed the police to hold more abusers accountable.

Nottinghamshire Police, for instance, arrested 1,110 people suspected of the offence and charged 208 of them in the first year since the law’s enforcement.

The law has been particularly effective in cases where abusers strangle their victims during violent attacks, often leading to convictions for lesser crimes that did not fully reflect the severity of their actions.

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Nottinghamshire Police comment

Detective Inspector Dan Evans, the domestic abuse lead at Nottinghamshire Police, expressed satisfaction with the law’s impact, stating that it has enabled them to bring more domestic abusers to justice.

He said:

“This was a welcome change in the law that has allowed us to hold more domestic abusers to account.

“Sadly, it is not uncommon for abusers to deliberately restrict their victims’ ability to breathe in order to abuse, control or intimidate them.

“The good news is that they can no longer hide behind lesser charges and now find it much harder to mask what they have done.

“We recognised straight away that this new law was a valuable tool with which to help victims and worked hard to ensure our front-line officers understood it and used their powers effectively.

“In the 12 months since we have had some really great results as a results, including a man jailed for 21 months for grabbing a woman by the throat, and another jailed for 18 months for a similar offence.

“Even in cases where we don’t have sufficient evidence to bring a charge, the act of arresting and interviewing a suspect on suspicion of this offence gives us plenty of additional options to help protect victims from harm”

The law has also been instrumental in securing jail sentences for many offenders.

Even in cases where there isn’t enough evidence to charge a suspect, the act of arresting and interviewing them provides the police with additional options to protect victims from harm.

This new law has been recognised as a valuable tool in the fight against domestic abuse, and efforts have been made to ensure that front-line officers understand and effectively use their powers under it.

More about this new law under the Domestic Abuse Act

The UK’s recently implemented non-fatal strangulation law is a provision under the government’s Domestic Abuse Act. The law specifically targets those who strangle their partners in an attempt to control or induce fear. Under this law, perpetrators can face up to 5 years in prison.

The law was enacted in response to concerns that individuals who committed this act were avoiding punishment. This is often because non-fatal strangulation can leave no visible injury, which makes it more difficult to prosecute under existing offences such as Actual Bodily Harm (ABH). Research has indicated that victims are seven times more likely to be murdered by their partner if there had been non-fatal strangulation beforehand.

The law also applies to British nationals abroad, allowing for the prosecution in England and Wales for offences committed overseas. This ensures there is no escape for abusers.

The legislation specifically identifies non-fatal strangulation as any case where a person intentionally strangles or suffocates another person, including in cases of domestic abuse. The offense applies in England and Wales and to strangulation or suffocation committed abroad by a British national or by a person who is habitually resident in England or Wales, as if the offense had happened in England and Wales​1​.


 

Support Services

Nottinghamshire Police is part of the Make Yourself Heard Campaign, which aims to show people how they can report an emergency when it is not safe to speak.

Dialling 55 after calling 999 takes you through to a silent call service, whereby call handlers will give you specific directions on how to report your emergency.

Support is also available via the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline number – run by Refuge – on 0808 2000 247 and online at www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

 

Police Silent Solution: https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Documents/research-learning/Silent_solution_guide.pdf

For more information about Domestic Abuse please read this supporting survivors of domestic abuse page.

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Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid website

Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid provides an extensive range of services for women, young people and children.

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Newark Women’s Aid website

Newark Women’s Aid provides safe accommodation, with associated support services, for women with or without children, who are living with or have experienced any form of physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic abuse. Tel: 01636 679687

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Domestic Violence Assist

The UK’s only registered charity arranging Non-Molestation Orders, Prohibited Steps Orders & Occupation Orders

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Men’s Advice Line website

Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic violence and abuse.

It offers emotional support, practical advice and information on a wide range of services for further help and support.

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Juno Women’s Aid

Juno’s 24-hour domestic and sexual violence helpline offers support to women, teenage girls and children who have been affected by domestic or sexual abuse.

Tel: 0808 800 0340

Email: enquiries@junowomensaid.org.uk

Deaf and hearing-impaired women can access the Helpline by:

Text Relay/NGT: 18001 0808 800 0340 24 hours a day

Email: helpline@junowomensaid.org.uk daily, 9am – 9pm

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Equation: Domestic abuse support for men

Equation provide a free helpline for men which is available Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

A 24/7 confidential answerphone service is also available.

Call: 0115 960 5556

Email: helpline@equation.org.uk

Equation also runs the Respect not fear website for younger people which offers help, advice and links to support.

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Nottinghamshire Alliance Against Violence

Make a stand against violence. ‘Like’ our Alliance Against Violence Facebook page

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Nottinghamshire Independent Domestic Abuse Service website

NIDAS is a registered charity, formerly known as Mansfield and Ashfield Women’s Aid.

Its aim is to help people experiencing domestic abuse.

They work hard with other agencies to raise awareness of domestic abus

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Karma Nirvana website

Karma Nirvana is a registered charity that supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

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Brightsky App

A free to download app providing support and information to those affected by Domestic Abuse, available in 5 languages, has a unique directory of support services and links of further resources including a journal which you can record incidents.

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Hollie Guard App

Safeguarding people- a simple shake or tap activates Hollie guard, immediately notifying your chosen contacts, pinpointing your location and sending audio and video evidence directly to their mobile phones.

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Broxtowe Women’s Project (BWP)

BWP are here to help women living in the Borough of Broxtowe who are experiencing domestic abuse.We provide a confidential helpline, outreach service, training courses and drop in sessions, all aimed at empowering women and to help them survive domestic abuse.

Find out more about our services below.

Call us if you need our help on 01773 719 111 or email enquiries@broxtowewp.org

 

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