Non-fatal strangulation training for professionals
Non-fatal strangulation is a known way for perpetrators of domestic abuse to control and intimidate their victim. It is an insidious form of domestic abuse which recently became a standalone criminal offence in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. Despite the strong link between non-fatal strangulation and domestic homicide, it can be difficult to identify due to a lack of visible injury.
It is vital that professionals understand non-fatal strangulation and the risk it poses.
We’re thrilled to be working with the Institute for Addressing Strangulation and are currently in the process of developing training for a range of professionals who encounter victims and survivors of non-fatal strangulation.
We’re developing non-fatal strangulation training sessions and webinars for:
- Crown Prosecution Service
- Adult and Children’s Social Care
- Idva services
- Isva services
- Health services
Upcoming non-fatal strangulation training
Our non-fatal strangulation training programme will continue in early 2024 with the delivery of more webinars and half day training sessions for a wide range of agencies. If you would like to be notified of our future training, please complete this expression of interest form.
We’d like to say a really big thank you to all of you who have attended our NFS webinars in 2023. If you have any feedback or queries regarding NFS training please contact us at NFStraining@safelives.org.uk
What is non-fatal strangulation, and how common is it?
Strangulation can be defined as obstruction of blood vessels and/or airways by external pressure to the neck resulting in decreased oxygen supply to the brain. Non-fatal strangulation is where such strangulation has not directly caused the death of the victim.
We estimate that more than 20,000 victims of domestic abuse in the UK experience strangulation each year, and our Insights 2021-22 dataset found that 44% of service users had experienced non-fatal strangulation. Non-fatal strangulation significantly increases the risk of being killed, with homicide reviews showing victims of non-fatal strangulation are seven times more likely to be killed at a later date.
Why is non-fatal strangulation training important?
Following on from the dedicated campaigning of survivors, professionals and organisations, non-fatal strangulation is now a standalone criminal offence under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
Only 50% of people who are strangled will have any visible injury to the neck or head. Despite this, numerous longer-term effects of strangulation are reported, including internal bleeding, dizziness and nausea, tinnitus or ear bleeding, sore throat or a raspy voice, loss of memory and even stroke several months later as a result of blood clots.
Beyond the physical and neurological impact, strangulation has been found to result in long-term mental health impacts. Post-traumatic stress disorder is closely linked to experiencing fear of imminent death.
I felt like I didn’t know my own name afterwards, all I could think during the attack was, I can’t believe I’m going to die like this.
Survivor of non-fatal strangulation
Strangulation and asphyxiation are the second most common method of killing in female homicides, after stabbing, but victims of strangulation are often hidden. Many victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse don’t report their abuse.
Over a third of victims of non-fatal strangulation believed that they were going to die. This is psychologically damaging to them, and any children involved. Children may be direct victims by being strangled, or suffer as witnesses, fearing for their mother’s life.
Professionals interacting with victims and survivors of non-fatal strangulation must be able make an accurate and timely risk assessment, so they can get the right help for the victim as quickly as possible.
Our non-fatal strangulation training programme, and the Institute for Addressing Strangulation, is funded by the Home Office.