Choking to become serious offence in bid to reduce DV

Non-fatal strangulation and choking will become serious violent offences under proposed NSW changes in a bid to stop domestic attacks escalating to murder.

The offences, often a marker of the rising levels of violence in a relationship, had previously not been considered when an offender was released from prison.

Under the changes, the NSW Supreme Court can prevent an offender's release or order a regime of strict supervision if it is satisfied the offender poses an unacceptable risk of committing another serious sexual or violent offence.

Such a course currently applies to those convicted of offences such as murder, manslaughter and intentionally or recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Attorney-General Michael Daley said the system had overlooked the offences of strangulation and choking.

NSW Attornery General Michael Daley
Michael Daley is spearheading changes designed to help curb domestic violence in NSW.

"We know that men - and let's call it out as men - who choke their partners are at a much higher risk of going on to kill them and there have been some very sorry and tragic cases that have been reported over this year," he told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb said people in violent relationships were at particularly high risk of strangulation.

"We welcome any changes that will protect victims," she said.

A NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team report previously pointed to research as demonstrating a link between strangulation and domestic homicide.

More than a quarter of intimate-partner homicides involve the abuser having strangled the victim during a prior attack.

Opposition leader Mark Speakman said the coalition would support any reasonable measure that would improve the safety of victims.

While in government in 2018, the coalition lowered the bar for police to prove strangulation offences, increasing conviction rates.

"If this is the next step ... then in principle, we're likely to support it," Mr Speakman said.

The bill would apply to offenders intentionally choking someone in situations where they were reckless about rendering the victim unconscious or incapable of resistance, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

It would also apply to those choking with the intent of committing another serious offence, such as sexual assault or robbery.

Other parts of the bill strengthen the government's ability to seek supervision orders for terrorists convicted of mostly federal offences.

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