New weapons in the fight against strangulation

Media release
A new public education campaign is being launched to inform and empower West Australians about suffocation and strangulation, ensuring victims can get the help they need.

These dangerous acts of family and domestic violence became a specific criminal offence from October 1.

To spread the word, an NFS survivor is bravely sharing her experiences in a video created with the advice and participation of doctors, police and support sectors.

The video includes a step-by-step guide to reporting the offence and getting assistance and support. The medical impacts of strangulation and suffocation are explained by frontline doctors.

An E-learning tool using a special anatomical animation produced in WA will also soon be rolled out to first responders.

It will teach them about the impact strangulation has on the body, the right way to treat victims and how to recognise the signs so they can record conclusive evidence of the offence.

Commissioner for Victims of Crime Kati Kraszlan says "Someone putting their hands around your neck is the ultimate act of power in family violence,"

"Research shows those subject to non-lethal strangulation are seven times more likely to be a victim of homicide, so we know that this is a very strong sign of escalating violence in a relationship."

“Only some things are ok around your neck.”

The act can cause blood clots, stroke and brain damage, while even a small amount of pressure to the neck can have catastrophic consequences.

An NFS offence is committed if someone unlawfully impedes another person’s normal breathing, blood circulation, or both, and carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

The campaign launch marks the end of the 16 Days in WA - Stop Violence against Women campaign.

For details of 24-hour support services and other useful resources, visit the Department of Communities Family and Domestic Violence Help page.

Page reviewed 10 December 2020