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Research Paper 5: Sentencing for Non-Fatal Strangulation

posted on 2023-05-25, 05:19 authored by Rebecca BradfieldRebecca Bradfield

Sentencing for Non-Fatal Strangulation

The Sentencing Advisory Council released Research Paper 5: Sentencing for Non-Fatal Strangulation on 17 June 2021.

This paper was prepared following a request from the Attorney-General to provide information about sentencing for specific non-fatal strangulation offences in other Australian jurisdictions, as well as information about cases where non-fatal strangulation, choking or suffocation has been considered as a sentencing factor in Tasmania.  The specific terms of reference are:

  1. In Tasmania, how many cases and in what circumstances has non–fatal strangulation, choking or suffocation been considered as a sentencing factor and in relation to which offences?  What were the sentencing outcomes in those cases?
  2. In those jurisdictions that have introduced an offence of non-fatal strangulation (or cognate offence), what have been the sentencing outcomes and, where information is available, what factors have the courts considered in sentencing the offender?
  3. In those  jurisdictions that have introduced an offence of non-fatal strangulation (or cognate offence) for what other offences was the offender also sentenced at the same court event?
  4. Any other relevant observations.

The paper highlights a number of findings regarding recognition of the seriousness of non-fatal strangulation, particularly in the context of family violence, and the unique capacity of strangulation to be used as a means of coercion and control on a domestic relationship.

The paper also found that there is no noticeable difference between sentencing for non-fatal strangulation in the Supreme Court of Tasmania and sentencing in Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and New Zealand.

Based on its research, the Council makes three suggestions for legislative reform to the Sentencing Act 1997 (Tas) and the Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas) to provide that strangulation and suffocation are aggravating circumstances in relation to an offence, and to provide for the recording of non-fatal strangulation as a particular of an offence on a person’s criminal record.


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Tasmanian State Government




Faculty of Law


Tasmanian State Government

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Socio-economic Objectives

Law reform

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