Katie Fitzgerald
Strangulation charges have been laid nearly five times a day since it became an offence under new family violence legislation.
Non-fatal strangulation became an offence on December 3, and the first person to be charged with it was arrested that same day.
A police spokesperson confirmed to Newshub in the 87 days since then then a further 415 charges have been filed.
That makes 4.7 charges a day.
Police spokesperson Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Ellwood said at the time of the first arrest that strangulation should be treated seriously.
“The fact it has been used so soon after being introduced shows how important this new legislation will be in preventing family harm and keeping our community safe,” he said.
“We know that strangulation is a serious risk marker in family harm situations.”
Charges of strangulation carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Former Prime Minister John Key announced non-fatal strangulation would become an offence in September 2016.
“For most New Zealanders, home is a sanctuary, but for some it can be the opposite; it can be a place of fear, anxiety and danger,” he said at the time.
Labour’s former family violence spokesperson Poto Williams praised the move when it was announced, saying the suggestion for a strangulation charge came from a Members Bill from Kelvin Davis.
“We are supportive of some of the changes around bail conditions being central to parenting and property order because they increase safety for women and their children.”
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