Strengthening the penalty for strangulation

Anything that can be done to make it easier to prosecute those involved in domestic violence cases is something we should all support.

History has shown that in many cases, longtime victims of domestic violence ultimately become homicide victims.

Kentucky has come a long way in helping victims of domestic violence, but it still can do more to ensure their protection and see that those responsible are punished to the fullest extent of the law.

One way the state can do more to help domestic violence victims is to approve House Bill 141, which would create a new section of Kentucky Revised Statues Chapter 508 that would make strangulation a Class C or Class D felony, depending on the circumstances. The proposed bill would make strangulation a Class D felony, but the crime would be increased to a Class C felony if the strangulation occurs in the presence of a minor, if the minor is a victim, if the person loses consciousness, bladder or bowel control or if a deadly weapon is involved. If passed, repeat offenders would have a harsh enough penalty to receive a significant prison sentence where hopefully the cycle of domestic violence.

Currently, non-lethal strangulation in Kentucky isn’t a felony and many offenders who appear before a judge on the charges receive only minor convictions.

That needs to change, for an array of reasons.

Strangulation, which is a felony in 37 states, is used by an aggressor as intimidation and a control factor toward their victims. Those who commit domestic violence usually start with verbal abuse and then escalate to physical abuse such as strangulation and in many cases homicides. Incidents of strangulation not only leave physical scars, but also leave lasting psychological effects on victims. Domestic violence victims who have been strangled by their abusers are nine time more likely to become victims of domestic violence homicide.

The victims in these situations are much more vulnerable to death, which is all the more reason to close this gap in our current law that lets these people off with hardly any punishment.

This legislation is way overdue. It should be passed during the session not only to protect victims of domestic violence who are strangled, but also to truly penalize these offenders with harsher sentences and in doing so potentially lowering the number of these disturbing cases of domestic violence strangulation we are seeing in our state.

Bowling Green Daily News

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