New stran­gu­la­tion law as sep­a­rate of­fence may save lives

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

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.”

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