Strangulation is one of the lethal warning signs in teen dating abuse and in domestic violence. As of July 1, 2012, in the State of Virginia attempting to strangle someone is a class 6 felony. The new law, which began as bill HB752 / SB459 from Del. Benjamin Clin (R-24th District) and Sen. Mark Herring (D-33rd District) makes strangulation offenses punishable as a Class 6 Felony with up to 5 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. In addition, the new law applies to those in dating relationships rather than just those in households.
Before this law was enacted, strangulation was a misdemeanor like assault, battery or injury to a person. According to the domestic violence group Safe Harbor Shelter:
Strangulation is a common form of domestic violence
- victims can lose consciousness within 10 seconds;
- brain death can begin in 4-5 minutes;
- short- and long-term physical, psychological and neurological health effects can occur;
- accounts for 10% of violent deaths in US and most victims are women
- injuries (including fatal injuries) can be sustained even several hours after an attack
This new law reads as follows: 784.041 Felony battery; domestic battery by strangulation
(1) A person commits felony battery if he or she (a) Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; and
(b) Causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.
(2)(a) A person commits domestic battery by strangulation if the person knowingly and intentionally, against the will of another, impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a family or household member or of a person with whom he or she is in a dating relationship, so as to create a risk of or cause great bodily harm by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person or by blocking the nose or mouth of the other person.
If you think you are in a teen dating violence situation and need help, please call The National TEEN Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-311-9474.