Free online training – New strangulation and suffocation offence (England and Wales)

Two parts: 1pm-4.30pm Tuesday 28th June & 1pm-4.30pm Wednesday 29th June 2022

Strangulation and suffocation are sadly widespread (estimated at 20,000 cases per year in the UK). Being strangled not only leads to potential serious medical consequences that should be identified early on, it also raises by seven-fold the risk of becoming a future domestic homicide victim.  It is also widely experienced in rape. A 2021 study from Saint Mary’s SARC Manchester showed that 1 in 5 adults presenting for a forensic medical examination following a report of rape by a partner or ex-partner gave a history of strangulation as part of that assault.

A new specific offence of strangulation and suffocation will come into force in England and Wales on 7th June 22 so this training will help staff prepare for managing these assaults.

The training will be led by good practice and experience from the USA but set in a British context.  Trainers from the USA Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention include Casey Gwinn, Esq., President of Alliance for HOPE International and Co-Director of the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention. Casey has worked as a prosecutor and has been widely credited for the 90% drop in domestic violence homicides in the City of San Diego since 1985. The Institute is recognised as a world leader on this subject having been working on it for twenty years.

From England and Wales there will be contributions from:

  • Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner
  • Rachel Williams, survivor of strangulation and suffocation
  • Louisa Rolfe OBE, National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Domestic Abuse
  • Joanne Hopkins, Programme Director, Criminal Justice and Violence Prevention, Public Health Wales
  • Dr Cath White, Sexual Offence Medicine Lead for Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine
  • Kate Davies CBE from NHS England
  • Joanna Evans Deputy District Judge and Recorder of the Crown Court
  • Kate Brown, Chief Crown Prosecutor (South East) and National Domestic Abuse Champion
  • Jo Silver, Director of Quality and Innovation, Safelives

Many people – even those working within the NHS and criminal justice system are unaware of some of the signs and symptoms of strangulation and suffocation.  Historically many have minimised the seriousness of strangulation and have not realised the medical dangers of strangulation particularly the many assaults that leave no marks.   For example, strangulation can lead to brain injury, stroke and miscarriage. Most people are unaware that being a victim of strangulation makes you seven times more likely to go on to be killed.

Yet strangling someone needs less pressure than opening a can of Coke.

 Those attending the event will learn about:

  • Identifying the signs and symptoms of non-fatal strangulation and suffocation cases
  • Investigating and documenting cases for prosecution
  • The use of experts in court and
  • Enhancing victim safety through trauma-informed advocacy services

 This course will be especially useful for anyone who may come across strangulation and suffocation in their work. It is relevant for all front-line NHS staff as we know from the USA that it is often for example GP practice nurses or A&E staff who pick up that someone has been strangled when they present with eye, throat, ear or other problems.  This is particularly true for those victims who are wary of reporting to the criminal justice system.

Please do share this information as widely as possible encouraging staff to attend this course.