Average five people a day charged with strangulation, suffocation since law change
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/110919759/-

2019-06-11 21:22:37

An average of nearly five people a day have been charged with strangulation or suffocation since a new family violence offence came into force on December 3, according to New Zealand Police.

Jane Drumm, general manager of domestic violence charity Shine, said her organisation sought the updated figures  partly because it was important for the public to be aware of the extent of the problem.

The police statistics showed 416 people - around 33 a week - had been charged with strangulation or suffocation since it became a separate offence.

"This new strangulation law was brought in because it really highlights a particular form of offending, which is highly dangerous," Drumm said.

It was important New Zealanders realised the extent of the problem. "People need to be shocked. Then need to be shocked continually," she said.

"We need to keep on going back to the public and making people aware New Zealand has a huge problem (with family violence) and we need to do something about this."

She had not had any idea how many cases there would be of strangulation or suffocation. For an average of 33 cases a week to be identified, indicated police were doing an excellent job looking for sufficient evidence to be able to lay the charge.

"Quite frequently there are no visible signs," Drumm said.

Strangulation was a strong indicator of high risk and homicide, she said.  "It's an indicator of extremity of violence, so it's really important it doesn't get lost in a male assaults female charge."

Strangulation was all about control.  "It's a really effective way of demonstrating to somebody that the person who uses strangulation has life and death power over them and they can use that whenever they want," she said.

"Strangulation isn't uncommon, which is why we're getting these horrible statistics. People don't realise even if there are no visible signs of injury, they could have sustained dreadful internal injuries.

""If pregnant they could miscarry, and could also die within a few days of strangulation. Anyone who's been strangled needs to see a doctor."

Shine is holding its fundraising Light it Orange campaign during the week starting on Sunday. Every $250 raised can cover the cost of an advocate's urgent callout to a family after an arrest, plus a follow-up first home visit by a specialist supporting children exposed to domestic abuse, the organisation said.

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