Councilmember Bonds Introduces Anti-Domestic Violence Bill by Defining Strangulation as a Felony Offense

COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

OFFICE OF COUNCILMEMBER ANITA BONDS

   

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 22, 2015

Contact: David Meadows

dmeadows@dccouncil.us

(202) 724-8064

 

Councilmember Bonds Introduces Anti-Domestic Violence Bill by Defining Strangulation as a Felony Offense

 

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, Chairperson of the Committee of Housing and Community Development introduced the “Strangulation Criminal Offense Act of 2015.” The bill follows actions of several states by creating a specific felony offense for the act of strangulation, and enhanced penalties for strangulation under aggravated circumstances.

 

Strangulation is the cause of 10% of violent homicides in the country and in domestic violence cases, research has shown that strangulation is the one best predictor of a future homicide,” stated Councilmember Anita Bonds.

 

In the District of Columbia, lethality assessments performed on domestic violence victims show that victims of domestic violence are eight times more likely to be killed when there was a previous report of strangulation. The DC Institute of Forensic Nurse Examiners has the ability to diagnose strangulation through alternate light source (ALS) detection. ALS permits medical professionals to view bruising and injury not visible to the naked eye. This technology ensures that prosecution of strangulation cases will be evidence based.

Under the current law, strangulation is not a separate offense. The absence of strangulation as a clearly stated separate offense creates an environment where strangulations are prosecuted as misdemeanor assaults. On a national level, 30 States have already enacted legislation making strangulation a felony.

 

The bill was co-sponsored by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen and was referred to the Committee on Judiciary for consideration.

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