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New Domestic Abuse Offences as of 7th June 2022

View profile for Olivia Peck
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Section 70 Domestic Abuse Act 2021, introduced offences of non-fatal strangulation and non-fatal suffocation, these offences came into force on 7th June 2022.

What is the offence of strangulation or suffocation?

The legislation states that a person commits an offence if:

  • A intentionally strangles another person (B) or
  • A does any other act to B that affects their ability to breathe and constitutes a battery

There is not a legal definition of strangulation or strangles and these are given their ordinary meaning, which is the obstruction or compression of blood vessels and/or airways by external pressure to the neck impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood.

Strangulation does not require any certain level of pressure and there does not have to be any evidence of physical injury.

Methods of non-fatal suffocation could include:

  • putting a hand over the mouth and nose
  • compressing the chest
  • any other force or suppression applied to a person to cause a restriction of breath

What is the maximum sentence you can receive for strangulation or suffocation?

These offences are either way offences, which mean they can be heard in either the Magistrates or the Crown Court. If a person is convicted of an offence at the Magistrates Court the maximum sentencing powers they have is a term if imprisonment not exceeding 12 months. If however a person is convicted of an offence at the Crown Court, the maximum sentence is a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.

There are however no specific sentencing guidelines in relation to the offence.

How can we help?

If you find yourself arrested or invited in for a police interview, it is vital to contact a solicitor as soon as possible to obtain expert legal advice.

Johnson Astills are experts in criminal law and domestic violence and are able to assist 24 hours of the day at the police station. Our specialist advocates in the Criminal Defence Team are highly experienced in dealing with matters at both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. Representation at the police station is free, and legal aid may be available for your case at the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts. For offences which do not qualify for legal aid, we offer fixed fees for appointments and representation.

To discuss any offences please contact our Criminal Defence Team at Johnson Astills at our Leicester office on 0116 2554855 or our Loughborough office on 01509 610312.