The campaign from the Department of Justice, beginning on Monday, October 23, warns that non-fatal strangulation is a crime ‘whatever the excuse’ and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
What is strangulation and suffocation?
Strangulation is when someone causes you to have problems breathing by using part of their body or an object on your neck. Suffocation is when someone covers your mouth and nose to prevent breathing.
Common ways of strangulation or suffocation are:
using two hands around the victim’s neck
putting pressure on the victim’s neck using a body part like a foot, arm, knee, or anything else
pulling tightly using an object like a scarf or belt around the neck
covering the mouth and nose to prevent breathing
Richard Pengelly CB, Permanent Secretary of the Department said: “It is important to convey the seriousness of the offence of non-fatal strangulation and the potential for serious harm.
"The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness, for perpetrators, victims and the general public that non-fatal strangulation is a crime, it can cause devastating injuries, where serious injury occurs consent is no defence and consequences for offenders include significant prison sentences.”
The Department of Justice (DoJ) consulted with victims’ groups throughout the planning process and ahead of the public campaign broadcasting.
Information on how to access support or report the crime will be included in the three-week long TV campaign, which will also feature on YouTube and at outdoor sites during 2023/24.
Anyone impacted who needs help and support can visit: www.nidirect.gov.uk/nfs/
Sarah Mason, CEO Women’s Aid Federation NI said: “Women’s Aid welcomed the introduction of the non-fatal strangulation legislation and campaigned to see it enforced. We believe women and girls in Northern Ireland are safer today than last year. A media campaign to highlight this new law will send a clear message that this is a crime. We are mindful that the content within the campaign could be triggering and would encourage anyone impacted to reach out for support through our local services across the country.”