New strangulation law as separate offence may save lives
A Northland woman advocating for violence-free families says recognising strangulation as a separate offence could help reduce the number of victims.
The new offence of strangulation or suffocation will carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. Previously there was no separate offence for strangulation. Changes to the Family Violence Amendment Act are designed to help curb family violence. The legislation was spearheaded by the former National government and passed unanimously last month.
Karen Edwards, a Northland mother who knows the devastation caused by family violence after her daughter was murdered, spoke in support of the new law and revealed her own terrifying near strangulation experience. She said a former partner grabbed her around the throat.
“You go into survival mode and I reacted quickly. I just yelled and there were kids around so he backed off,” Edwards said. “If I hadn’t reacted quickly I hate to think what might have happened.”
She said strangulation needed to be seen as a punishable offence and often the after effects were underestimated.
“It’s a form of attempted murder.”