By: Chris McMahon

Townsville, Queensland, Australia

DOMESTIC violence continues to plague Townsville and new data shows more than one victim a week is being choked by their partner.

In the last financial year, there were 63 reported choking cases in Townsville, but actual incidents could be much higher, with domestic violence one of the most under-reported crimes in the state.

Legislation was introduced last year to make strangulation an offence, with research showing a large number of offenders were choking their partners.

Chief Superintendent Kev Guteridge said the new legislation was introduced to protect victims who were at a significantly higher risk of being killed when choked.

“Strangulation is a life-threatening offence. There is no other way to describe it,” Supt Guteridge said.

“Even where strangulation does not result in the death of a victim, evidence supports that the risk of death to victims of domestic violence is multiplied 800 times where strangulation has previously occurred. This presents a staggering risk.

“The introduction of the legislation affords police the opportunity to investigate and prosecute offences which ultimately leads to an increased protection of victims.”

Chief Supt Guteridge said stopping domestic violence also relied on people speaking up if they saw something out of order.

“Domestic and family violence protection always will be a whole-of-community problem and therefore we need the whole community to work together to address it,” he said.

“The Queensland Police Service encourages every victim of, or witness to, domestic violence to report the matter to police urgently.

“Domestic violence is everybody’s business.”

North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service co-ordinator Pauline Woodbridge said choking attacks were a big problem.

“We’re hearing more information from clients about how ‘he strangled me’ or ‘he tried to break my neck’,” Mrs Woodbridge said. “One of the issues for women is when the violence is going on and it includes strangulation or choking, they don’t see it as a single event, they see it as part of the whole melee.

“You’d really hope that the legislation acts as a deterrent for potential offenders … and the more that perpetrators are held accountable, the better.”

Source Article: Alarming number of choking cases in Townsville