On Monday 26th June, non-fatal strangulation or asphyxiation (under The Justice Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims Act NI 2022) was made a specific criminal offence in Northern Ireland, punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
One month on, officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland have made 49 arrests for reports of non-fatal strangulation offences and charged 26 alleged perpetrators.
Only this week, Tuesday 25th July, a 31 year old man was arrested in the Belfast area for offences, including non-fatal strangulation against a 28 year old woman. He has now been charged and files have been submitted to the Public Prosecution Service for consideration.
Detective Superintendent Lindsay Fisher from the Service’s Public Protection Branch said:
“The successes so far have proven the need for this important piece of legislation. We will be continuing to work with partners to raise awareness of this crime type and encourage more victims to come forward.
“Over 1,850 frontline officers and staff have now already been trained to recognise and respond and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to bring potential offenders to justice. We are acting on reports made to us and supporting potential victims who are being brave enough to pick up the phone.”