Christian Alexandersen – Penn Live –
Victims of domestic violence don’t often show signs that they’ve been strangled, making it difficult to prosecute the abuser. But Pennsylvania lawmakers want to stop that cycle.
Rep. Becky Corbin, R-Chester, held a press conference Wednesday for her proposed legislation that would make strangulation a felony. Currently, Pennsylvania does not have a specific criminal offense addressing strangulation.
“Strangulation is a very common form of intimate partner violence,” Corbin said. “An individual can be choked within an inch of her or his life, and in most instances it is her life, with very few, if any, visible markers.”
The lack of physical evidence, Corbin said, can mask the severity of a strangulation attack. If first responders find a domestic violence victim conscious and alert, it can be assumed that the assault wasn’t that serious.
“In reality, however, that individual may have only been seconds away from death,” Corbin said. “Nearly murdered.”
Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed said someone can now be charged with aggravated assault if they’ve been arrested for strangulation. However, he said, it’s very hard to get a conviction.
As a result, the person is charged with a summary offense, which Freed said is nothing more than a traffic ticket.
Freed said the proposed bill as a “necessary and powerful piece of legislation.”
Of the 97 victims killed during domestic violence incidents in Pennsylvania last year, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that six were strangled to death.
PCADV Executive Director Peg Dierkers said a woman was strangled to death last week during a domestic violence in Lehigh County.
“The coalition supports House Bill 1581 because we believe it will hold perpetrators accountable and help to prevent non lethal acts of strangulation from becoming next year’s domestic violence homicides,” Dierkers said.
To access the original article, please click here: Seconds Away From Death’: Domestic Violence Bill Aims to Make Strangulation a Felony