HARRISBURG – Cases of strangulation would be considered as a crime of violence in sentencing for subsequent crimes and in child custody proceedings under a bill sent to the governor on Monday, 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 strangled.
“Without this bill, the court system cannot fully address the dangerous and terrifying nature of this crime,” Ward said. “The physical, emotional and psychological damage of strangulation can last a lifetime. Survivors of this heinous offense deserve to have the peace of mind to know that their attacker will be held accountable.”
The legislation was introduced previously by retired Representative Becky Corbin (R-155), and companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representative Torren Ecker (R-193). Ward said the efforts of both state lawmakers were critical in passing the bill and ensuring cases involving strangulation are treated with the seriousness they deserve.
The measure is supported by the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
CONTACT: Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490