Strangulation and suffocation
It is a crime to strangle another person or do anything that causes a person to have difficulty breathing even if the act does not cause injury or death. Anyone found guilty of trying to strangle or suffocate another person could go to prison.
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
Effects of strangulation or suffocation
Strangulation not causing death (known as non-fatal strangulation) or suffocation (also called asphyxiation), will cause a lack of blood flow to the brain, which can cause serious harm resulting in a number of possible injuries, many of which leave no marks.
Serious physical or psychological effects include:
- dissection of the main neck arteries
- blocking of blood flow to and from brain
- brain swelling
- loss of consciousness
- brain injury
- movement disorders
- speech disorders
- personality change
Spot the signs
There are a number of signs or injuries around the neck, face and under chin area to look out for on someone who has been strangled:
- bumps and bruises on the neck and face
- small red spots on scalp or face area
- scratch marks
- bleeding from ear
- broken or bloody nose
- fingernail impressions
- markings around neck like rope burns
Reporting a crime
It is important to report any crime to help stop further offences from happening, as research shows people who try to strangle another person are more likely to go on to carry out murder.
Help for victims
Women are the main victims of strangulation and suffocation however anyone can be a victim of non-fatal strangulation. It can happen during domestic abuse, in intimate relationships, or a violent act. There is help available for all victims of this crime.
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