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New Non-Lethal Strangulation Offence

Health Warning – Important but distressing information to follow!

As part of the Domestic Abuse Act, a new criminal offence came into force on June 7th 2022. Non-lethal strangulation is now a criminal offence punishable with up to five years imprisonment.

Non-Lethal Strangulation is an extreme form of violence and an ultimate tactic of power and coercive control. Victims describe the abject fear it creates and that they genuinely believe that they are going to die when subjected to it. It is very dangerous and if a victim experiences it just once they are 7 times more likely to go on to be killed by their abusive partner. This risk increases each time they are non-lethally strangled.

Strangulation is defined as:

The obstruction or compression of blood vessels and/or airways by external pressure to the neck impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood.

The common methods of non-fatal strangulation are:

  • Manual – one or two hands held around the neck of a person

  • Chokehold or head lock – external pressure applied by an arm around the neck

  • Ligature – for example a scarf or belt tightened around the neck

  • Hanging

  • Pressure on the neck from a foot or knee.

In most cases of non-lethal strangulation, the victims throat will be compressed to the point of unconsciousness. Victims often do not remember passing out, but absolutely remember the fear that it causes. It is an indication of significant risk of death to the victim, but it can also cause serious injury too; often leaving no visible marks or injuries.

It takes less than 7 seconds of strangulation for a victim to lose consciousness. By 30 seconds a victim can lose continence and in less than a few minutes victims can be killed.

There are long term affects from non-lethal strangulation too, from stroke and traumatic brain injury to cardiac arrest. Memory, speech and language skills can also be affected. Often there will be no signs of external injuries or bruising and victims often minimize these attacks.

The new non-lethal strangulation offence has already been used for 30 arrests across the country since 7th June. It is hoped that it can not only bring abusers to justice for this most horrendous of crimes but help to save lives too.

If you or someone you know has experienced Non-Lethal Strangulation, this is now a crime and is extremely dangerous. Get support and advice from our staff at the

Derbyshire DA Helpline:

Phone: 08000 198 668

Text: 07534 617 252


If you are immediate danger always ring 999.