The Queensland Government has indicated that it will this week, introduce a new offence of non-fatal strangulation. The offence will be introduced into the Queensland Criminal Code and will be a stand-alone offence not limited by association to any other crime.
The creation of a specific offence of strangulation was a recommendation of the Special Taskforce on Domestic Violence report Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic Violence in Queensland. The report called for the new offence after apparently identifying a gap in the Criminal Code.
The report went on the indicate that “strangulation is a very common feature of Domestic and Family Violence and is also seen as a predictive risk factor for future more severe Domestic and Family Violence and for Homicide?”
Currently, a person alleged to be choking, strangling or suffocating a person would be charged with an offence of Assault which is made out where a person strikes, touches, or moves, or otherwise applies a force of any kind to, the person of another, either directly or indirectly.
Common assault attracts a maximum penalty of three (3) years imprisonment, although fines and other penalties are often applied. The proposed maximum penalty for the new offence will be seven (7) years.