Long hopes new law will help protect victims more

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has welcomed the commencement of a new law she introduced while Justice Minister, criminalising the act of non-fatal strangulation.

Naomi Long justice

The new offence has been added to the Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Act, resulting in penalties of up to two years in the magistrates’ court and 14 years in the crown court. It comes into effect from June 26.

It creates an offence of non-fatal strangulation, which can occur in a range of circumstances, including as part of domestic abuse, during experimental/’rough’ sex, or purely as a violent act. A defence of consent will not be available where serious harm occurs. 

“Non-fatal strangulation is incredibly dangerous. It is often a precursor for more violence, with research into domestic abuse showing perpetrators are up to eight times more likely to go on to commit murder,” said Mrs Long.

“In other situations, it can be used as a tool to exert control over victims. This new offence will allow such perpetrators to be identified early, enabling them to be stopped before any other and potentially more deadly incidents occur.

“Previously, the justice system faced challenges when it came to dealing with cases of non-fatal strangulation. I welcome the commencement of this new offence and hope it will help bring an extra layer of protection for victims, and identify those who would commit non-fatal strangulation before it develops into something deadlier.”