Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed SB153 recently in Billings, Montana, making strangulation of a partner or family member a felony for the first time in Montana! The law became effective IMMEDIATELY! Congratulations to the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV), Montana prosecutors, and bill sponsor — Senator Margie MacDonald–and many others for advocating for this new law and saying No More! It will save lives and hold rage-filled men in Montana accountable when they strangle a woman in an intimate relationship. The vast majority of strangulation offenses involve a man strangling a woman — most women survive the assault but can suffer brain damage and other lifelong medical and emotional consequences. A first offense, under the new Montana law, authorizes a sentence of up to five years in prison. A second offense authorizes a sentence of up to twenty years in prison!
Alliance for HOPE International and our Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention program have now successfully advocated for new felony strangulation statutes in 45 states and the federal Violence Against Women Act in the last decade. We have been honored to train professionals in Montana and every other state for more than 15 years as we focus on stopping men who strangle women and children. Alliance President Casey Gwinn, CEO Gael Strack, and Dr. Bill Smock, the Chair of our Medical Advisory Board all trained in Montana this past year and advocated for the making strangulation a felony in Montana. “Men who strangle women are the killers of America,” said Casey Gwinn. “If a man strangles a woman one time, he is 750% more likely to later kill her than a man who assaults a woman but does not strangle her.” “If we stop men who strangle women, we can also save the lives of police officers in this country,” said Gael Strack. “The Alliance has now documented that at least half of all officers killed in the line of duty are killed by a man with a history of domestic violence who has previously strangled a woman in an intimate relationship.”
You can read the language of the statute below:
Section 1. Strangulation of a partner or family member. (1) A person commits the offense of strangulation of a partner or family member if the person purposely or knowingly impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a partner or family member by:
(a) applying pressure on the throat or neck of the partner or family member; or (b) blocking air flow to the nose and mouth of the partner or family member.
(2) (a) A person convicted of a first offense of strangulation of a partner or family member shall be fined an amount not to exceed $50,000 or be imprisoned in the state prison for a term not to exceed 5 years, or both. (b) A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not less than 2 years or more than 20 years and may be fined an amount not more than $50,000, except as provided in 46-18-219 and 46-18-222.
(3) A person convicted of strangulation of a partner or family member is required to pay for and complete a counseling assessment as required in 45-5-206(4).
(4) For the purposes of this section, “partner” and “family member” have the meanings provided in 45-5-206. NO MORE CampaignNational Coalition Against Domestic Violence National Domestic Violence HotlineJoyful Heart FoundationBiden Foundation
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