Senate Passes Ward’s Bill Classifying Strangulation as Crime of Violence

HARRISBURG – Cases of strangulation could be considered in sentencing for subsequent crimes and in child custody proceedings under a bill approved by the Senate today, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Judy Ward (R-30).

The General Assembly approved a law in 2016 that created the criminal offense of strangulation. Senate Bill 275 would fully integrate that offense in Pennsylvania’s laws to ensure strangulation is classified in the same way as other similar violent crimes.

Ward said the bill was especially important to protect victims of domestic violence. Nearly half of all domestic violence homicide victims had previously experienced at least one episode of attempted strangulation, and 47 percent of female domestic violence victims report being choked.

“Strangulation is a dangerous and terrifying crime, and we need to do more to ensure the perpetrators are not given a chance to continue to terrorize their victims,” Ward said. “I am relieved that we are one step closer to ensuring this awful offense is treated with the seriousness it deserves.”

The measure is supported by the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 

CONTACT:  Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490