The Silent Killer in Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence remains a serious issue in the United States and around the rest of the world as well.  Although laws have changed to increase penalties for perpetrators of domestic violence, millions of women and hundreds of thousands of men are assaulted by their partners every year.

Domestic violence takes many forms and includes physical, emotional, and mental abuse, stalking, threatening and kidnapping.  Any action by one household member or former partner against another that can result in injury or death could be considered an act of domestic violence.

Law enforcement agencies in this nation are seeing a rise in one type of physical domestic violence – strangulation.  Strangulation is being referred to as the ‘Silent Killer’ in domestic violence cases because little evidence is left behind.  According to one Arizona detective, strangulation happens quickly with victims being rendered unconscious in ten seconds.  A forensic nurse examiner said that medical professionals and law enforcement officials are undereducated and uninformed about the dangers of strangulation, and with little or no evidence of physical abuse left behind, a strangulation case is difficult to prove.   Tragically when a victim is repeatedly strangled, he or she is more likely to suffer other health issues, such as a stroke or a heart attack, in the future. 

One victim of repeated strangulations endured years of suffering in silence at the hands of her boyfriend until she finally found the courage to leave him.  She said when her boyfriend assaulted her he knew how to strangle her in such a manner to leave no visible marks on her neck. 

Attempted strangulation cases can leave victims close to death, but leave few, if any, external signs of injury needed to prove a felony assault charge.  It is also hard to prove an attempted murder charge in such a case because the suspect may say he was trying to frighten not kill his victim.

In the past decade, many states, Florida included, have enacted laws making attempted strangulation a felony crime.  Domestic violence advocates say these laws not only ensure offenders will receive tougher penalties, but also promote awareness of the crime of strangulation, a crime that often precedes homicide and is chronically under-prosecuted.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, do not wait to get help.  Contact an experienced Domestic Violence Attorney for advice or representation.

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