Months ago, San Diego County put a new domestic violence law on the books, and now, the entire state is following suit. The state’s new law impacts how law enforcement officials deal with cases involving alleged acts of strangulation. This will change how police officers interact with alleged victims of domestic violence.
When this new law becomes official in January, law enforcement officials will have to inquire about strangulation when interviewing domestic violence victims. If the victim answers in the affirmative, he or she will be asked to provide documentation, if any is available. This documentation will be used when prosecuting the person who is accused of committing the violent act.
In addition, law enforcement officials will have to explain the dangers of strangulation to domestic violence victims. It is one of the deadliest acts of violence, and victims will have to be warned about the danger of internal injuries. In addition, police officers are supposed to instruct them to go to the doctor for a medical evaluation. This could save their lives.
The Purpose of the Law
Law enforcement officials often miss strangulation because the signs can be hard to see. Lines around the neck fade, if they were ever there in the first place. Also, people occasionally cover the signs because they are embarrassed.
At the same time, victims often don’t realize how severe their injuries are. They think they are fine, so they don’t disclose it to the officer or go to the doctor.
Investigators hope this new law will help inform the public about the dangers of strangulation and also encourage victims to seek medical help quickly.
The Dangers of Strangulation
People who are strangled can become unconscious within seconds of someone’s hands going around their necks. They can also be dead within minutes. That is more common than you might think. Between the years 2008–2016, 15 percent of domestic violence murders in San Diego County was due to strangulation.
Even those who survive often have an uphill battle. They might suffer from traumatic brain injury or memory loss. They might even have a stroke due to the lingering complications.
On top of that, those who survive are eight times more likely to be murdered later when compared to people who suffer from other forms of domestic violence. Disclosing the strangulation upfront will allow the officers to provide them with vital information so they can get out.
Defending Yourself from Domestic Violence Charges
The state of California is working hard to improve their cases against those charged with domestic violence. Those who are charged also need to protect their interests, which is why an attorney is necessary. An attorney will gather evidence, as well, and help you build a case to defend yourself. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as you are charged and let the attorney mount a defense on your behalf. Don’t speak to the police without an attorney present. It could mean the difference between doing serious time and being found not guilty.