Draft sentencing guideline for non-fatal strangulation and suffocation published for consultation

From: Sentencing Council
Published: Thu May 16 2024

The Sentencing Council is consulting on a new sentencing guideline for two new offences - non-fatal strangulation and non-fatal suffocation.

The proposed guideline will ensure judges and magistrates in England and Wales are able to take a consistent approach when sentencing these offences, which can cause victims to experience serious psychological problems and even a real fear of death.

There are currently no sentencing guidelines for these offences and courts apply principles from a recent Court of Appeal judgment. The guideline consolidates aspects of that judgment into a guideline format, in line with the Council's stepped approach to sentencing.

Non-fatal strangulation occurs when a person intentionally strangles or affects their victim's ability to breathe in an attempt to control or intimidate them, for example using a headlock or a ligature around the neck.

Non-fatal suffocation occurs when a person uses unlawful force on a victim, whether intentionally or recklessly, that affects the victim's ability to breathe, for example by putting a hand over the victim's mouth or compressing the chest.

No physical injuries need be caused for the offences to be committed.

The Council is seeking views on the draft guideline, which applies to adult offenders, from judges, magistrates, criminal justice professionals and others with an interest in this area. The consultation is open from 15 May 2024 to 14 August 2024.

Company: Sentencing Council

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