Under proposed domestic violence regulations, choking a wife during sex could become a criminal offence in the UK.
The campaigners’ initiative came after evidence showed that one in five victims of sexual assault were strangled by their partner.
Under common abuse law, which holds a statutory penalty of six months, choking or throttling is only punishable. Domestic assault groups, however, have claimed that offenders are rarely charged because claimants only say that choking happens as part of casual intercourse, and there can be no sign of physical harm.
Treating choking as a normal attack ignores the seriousness and the terror inflicted on the victims, according to the groups.
In 2018, almost a third of female kills in the UK were due to strangulation or suffocation, compared to three percent of male murders, the study said.
Baroness Newlove, former victim officer, would propose an amendment in the House of Lords to the Domestic Violence Bill that will turn non-fatal strangulation into a single offence.
Domestic Violence Commissioner Nicole Jacobs and Dame Vera Baird, the new Victims’ Commissioner, also endorse the amendment.
Dame Vera told The Daily Telegraph, relating to choking: ‘This is a very commonly done and very effective method of intimidating others. It is a very terrifying instrument of coercive influence.
You let her know you are in charge for the same price as a tiny slap, but with just the chance of a tiny mark so that the police never take notice.’
Researcher Dr. Catherine White, director of Manchester’s St Mary’s Sexual Harassment Referral Center, said a quarter of women who were assaulted by a boyfriend said they were choking.
The new legislation was ‘not fit for purpose,’ Dr. White said, and change will build ‘more visibility and more convictions.’
In order to address the plans, Dame Vera is scheduled to visit Miss Jacobs and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland on Thursday.
Dama Vera and Miss Jacobs said in a joint interview that non-fatal strangulation or asphyxiation was a ‘completely frightening experience’.
Arguing that the statute was failing victims and survivors, they added:’ Non-fatal strangulation is massively under-charged in the UK and there is no separate crime.
‘The statute is not fit for function. The risks of non-fatal strangulation and the required response by law enforcement will be made crystal clear by a particular offence with appropriate penalties.
’A Ministry of Justice spokesman said:’ Non-fatal strangulation is a violent offence that is still protected by current legislation such as common attack and attempted assassination.’