Choking Partner during Sex May Become Criminal Offence under New Law in UK
A third of female murders in the UK are due to strangulation or suffocation, says a 2018 study. However, Strangling or choking a partner during sex could become a criminal offence under a new domestic abuse legislation.
According to a report by DailyMail, the new proposal by campaigners is based on evidence that one in five sex assault victims have been strangled by their partners. Choking or strangulation is only punishable under common assault law, which carries a maximum sentence of six months. However, domestic abuse prevention groups state that perpetrators are rarely prosecuted because the victims/defendants commonly claim choking took place as part of consensual sex.
The groups also claim that treating choking as common assault not only undermines its severity, but it negates the terror inflicted on the victims. The report cites a 2018 statistic figure which quotes that nearly a third of female murders in the UK were due to strangulation or suffocation when compared with three percent of male murders. Such violent sexual acts is the next most common cause of death among female domestic violence after stabbing.
The Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs and Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird will back the amendment which will be presented by former victims commissioner Baroness Newlove in the House of Lords that would turn non-fatal strangulation into a singular offence.
The news report also cites director of St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, Dr Catherine White, as saying that a fifth of women who were raped by their partners said they had been choked. Dr White further said that the current law is ‘not fit for purpose’ and reform would certainly create awareness and prosecutions.
Dame Vera and Ms Jacobs are set to meet Justice Secretary Robert Buckland on Thursday to discuss their proposals. In a joint statement released by them, the two said non-fatal strangulation or asphyxiation was an ‘utterly terrifying experience’. They even argued that the victims and survivors were being failed by the law and added, ‘non-fatal strangulation is significantly under-charged in the UK and there is no distinct offence.’
However, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said, ‘non-fatal strangulation is a serious crime which is already covered by existing laws such as common assault and attempted murder.’