By Johanna Weidner
KITCHENER — The seriousness of strangulation in domestic violence will be the focus of a two-day training session next month for front-line service providers in Waterloo Region.
Strangulation is used to exert power and control in an intimate relationship, and can quickly become deadly. Unfortunately, it’s also becoming more common in the region.
“We’re seeing more and more of it, both in sexual assault and domestic violence,” said Julia Manuel, director of community programs at the Waterloo Region Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre.
The training is hosted by the centre, a program of St. Mary’s General Hospital, in partnership with Waterloo Regional Police, Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services, Western University and the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention.
Leading experts will be on hand teach first responders and front-line workers how to identify, investigate and prosecute domestic violence strangulation cases.
“It basically comes down to keeping that victim safe and keeping them alive,” Manuel said.
Strangulation can cause unconsciousness in seconds and death within minutes.
While very serious, strangulation can be overlooked by many disciplines because victims often do not appear physically injured or even realize the gravity of the violence suffered at the hands of an intimate partner. That means they can suffer serious health consequences, including brain injury or stroke and further violence.
“That really heightens the risk to that woman,” Manuel said. “It’s a very clear message that’s being sent to this victim that I can kill you.”
People attending the training, being held on Nov. 4 and 5 at Bingemans in Kitchener, will learn about the seriousness of strangulation, the importance of asking questions and providing medical attention to a victim.
Victim advocacy is important, and services in the region work together to help women who have experienced strangulation by a partner, which can happen in all walks of life.
“We see it regularly,” Manuel said.
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