ROCHELLE — Physical abuse, including strangulation, can be a precursor to fatal cases of domestic violence, which is why it’s important to know the key factors to identify strangulation cases that can be mistaken for substance abuse.
On Wednesday, HOPE of Ogle County hosted a one-day training session, “Strangulation:  The Last Warning Shot,” facilitated by Dr. Bill Smock and Gael Strack from the Training Institute of Strangulation Prevention.
Over 50 professionals including law enforcement personnel who work with domestic abuse cases attended the training.
Topics included proper medical response, rephrasing initial questions asked to victims and understanding the physiological aspects to the body that could take days, weeks, or years to manifest. The legal aspect and how to prove cases along with victim advocacy was also addressed.
Both Smock and Strack have extensive professional experience with domestic violence cases. Smock as an emergency room physician and Strack as a prosecutor.
“When I was a prosecutor in San Diego, two teens died … both were choked before they were killed,” Strack said. “That happened on my watch, and I came to the realization that led me to do some research on strangulation in domestic violence cases. I also published a report on the findings.”
Strack said there are currently 47 states with felony strangulation laws.
Staff members at HOPE of Ogle County attended a four-day advanced course on strangulation prevention earlier this year and recognized the importance of relaying this information to local professionals. Since then they have been training first responders and professionals who work with domestic violence victims — about 70 in all.
HOPE’s executive director, Ruth Carter, said her and the staff members want to share the valuable information they have learned and will tailor trainings to staff hours if necessary.
For more information on strangulation prevention training, please contact Ruth Carter or Marisol Martinez at HOPE, 815-562-4323.

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