The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WCDFVS) congratulates the WA Labor Government for its commitment to introducing specific non-fatal strangulation legislation into Western Australia and recognise that this is a significant step that will provide increased safety for women.
Unfortunately, the COVID 19 pandemic has coincided with the onset or escalation of violence against women in Australia. The Australian Institute of Criminology (Statistical Bulletin #28 – July 2020) reported that two-thirds of Australian women who have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner said that the violence had started or escalated in the three months prior to the survey (in May 2020).
For women who reported experiencing physical and or sexual violence in the last three months, 41.6 % reported they had experienced an episode of being strangled or grabbed around the neck by the perpetrator. In the lead up to the commencement of the offence of Suffocation and Strangulation in the Criminal Code on October 1st , WCDFVS will be disseminating information on non-fatal strangulation to improve community awareness of the direct harms that can result from non-fatal strangulation as well as greater knowledge that the act is a red flag for a high risk of serious harm and death in the future. Due to limited resources we are unable to provide the community education that an issue of such seriousness requires.