By Macy Moors

GREENE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — Greene County officials are seeing an uptick in strangulation cases.

Greene County’s Victim Witness Program Director Kenlyn Snow says there have been no fatalities of victims who report strangulation, but she says there’s been a couple of close calls.

Snow says there are about 80 active domestic violence cases sitting on her desk.

She says domestic violence throughout Greene County is up 30 percent compared to previous years.

One major problem police are seeing is the increase of victims being strangled.

“We’re looking at an upwards of seven to ten a year, whereas a few years ago we may have had three a year,” Snow said.

Snow says police are more informed on how to identify strangulation, which could contribute to the increase of cases.

Snow says more than 50 percent of cases don’t have visible injuries, which is why most victims get a medical exam.

“A lot of it is more internal, not external. I feel like our investigators and deputies on the road have done a much better job at asking those types of questions, rather than just looking for something visible and external,” Snow said.

UVA Forensic Nurse Practitioner Dr. Jeanne Parrish says doctors take neck measurements and asks victims about their symptoms.

Parrish says she’s seen an uptick in both strangulation and domestic violence cases during the pandemic.

“It’s raised the level of domestic violence we’re seeing, and strangulation goes hand-in-hand with that because the ultimate power over someone is the power of life and death,” she said.

The state passed a law in 2012 that made strangulation a violent felony offense and suspects could spend up to five years in jail.

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