Strangulation impacts all professionals working on sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking cases.
Today, we know unequivocally that strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence: unconsciousness may occur within seconds and death within minutes.
Strangulation is, in fact, one of the best predictors for the subsequent homicide of victims of domestic violence. One study showed that “the odds of becoming an attempted homicide increased by about seven-fold for women who had been strangled by their partner” (Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2008). Victims may have no visible injuries whatsoever, yet because of underlying brain damage due to the lack of oxygen during the strangulation assault, they may have serious internal injuries or die days, even weeks later.
The lack of external injuries and the lack of medical training among domestic violence professionals have led to the minimization of this type of violence, exposing victims to potential serious health consequences, further violence, and even death. Not only has strangulation been overlooked in the medical literature, but many states still do not adequately address this violence in their criminal statutes, policies or responses.
Domestic Violence perpetrators who use strangulation to silence their victims not only commit a felonious assault but can be charged for an attempted homicide. Strangulation is also a form of power and control which can have a devastating psychological effect on victims in addition to the potentially fatal outcome, including suicide.