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Choking A Partner During Sex Could Become Illegal Under New UK Laws

Choking a partner during sex without consent could become illegal under new domestic abuse legislation in the United Kingdom.

Also known as erotic asphyxiation, choking a partner during sex is breath play and sexual fetish for some people which involves intentionally cutting off the air supply for you or your partner with choking or suffocating. And it is not without risk as it can turn deadly if proper precautions are not taken.

In the UK, watchdogs are proposing the act becomes a specific criminal offence – with new evidence showing one in five sex assault victims are strangled by their partner.


Currently, choking is only punishable under common assault law, and results in a maximum of six months behind bars.

But campaigners say domestic abusers are rarely prosecuted as they pretend violent choking and throttling is part of consensual sex play.

Strangulation rarely leaves a sign of injury and is often dismissed by police.

They say categorising it as common assault – alongside a slap – underestimates the terror and near-death experience inflicted on the victim.

After being stabbed, it is the second most common death for women as a result of domestic violence. It is also a known “red flag” for homicide. Attacks on women involving choking increased the risk of death by 700%.

In 2018, a third of women murdered in the UK were strangled or suffocated – whereas in male murders the same year, this makes up only 3%.

The Government’s former victims’ commissioner, Baroness Newlove, will present an amendment to the Lords tomorrow that would make non-fatal strangulation a singular offence.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, she said: “It is a very frequently used and very effective way of terrifying somebody.

“It is a very frightening tool of coercive control. For the same price as a tiny slap, you let her know you are in control but with only the risk of a tiny mark so police never take notice of it.”

Researcher Dr Catherine White, director of St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester, said a fifth of women who had been raped by their partner said they had been choked.

Dr White said the current law was ‘not fit for purpose’ and reform would create ‘more awareness and more prosecutions’.

Dame Vera and Miss Jacobs are to meet Justice Secretary Robert Buckland on Thursday to discuss the proposals.

Research in America has found victims of non-fatal strangulation are seven times more likely to be killed in domestic abuse than non-victims.

In a joint statement, Dama Vera and Miss Jacobs said non-fatal strangulation or asphyxiation was an ‘utterly terrifying experience’.

Arguing that victims and survivors were being failed by the law, they added: “Non-fatal strangulation is significantly under-charged across the UK and there is no distinct offence.

“The law is not fit for purpose. A specific offence with appropriate sanctions would make the dangers of non-fatal strangulation — and the appropriate action by law enforcement — crystal clear.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “Non-fatal strangulation is a serious crime which is already covered by existing laws such as common assault and attempted murder.”

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