A new offence of strangulation/suffocation came into force in New Zealand on the 3rd December 2018 to reflect that strangulation/suffocation is one of the most lethal forms of family violence. Strangulation/suffocation can have significant long and short term psychological and physical impacts. Victims of non-fatal strangulation/strangulation (NFSS) are at a significantly higher risk to serious injury or death when perpetrated by an intimate partner or former intimate partner.

The Ministry of Health has contracted MEDSAC to design and develop a NFSS education and accreditation programme to enable the provision of expert medical forensic assessments of NFSS and expert medico-legal opinions to inform the patients/victims, the NZ Police, and legal counsel engaged in litigation activities resulting from NFSS incidents.

Education Modules

We offer a non-clinical education module, available to the general public, and clinical modules for clinicians (doctors and nurses).

For existing members of MEDSAC, click on the button below to see the courses that you are authorised to complete.

Access the modules here

Non-clinical module

MEDSAC has curated and developed material for a Non-Fatal Strangulation/Suffocation Awareness (NFSS) module which is freely accessible on our website. MEDSAC membership is not a requirement.

Access NFSS Awareness Module

Clinical modules

MEDSAC offers a non-fatal strangulation/suffocation education and accreditation programme to train and support doctors and nurses in New Zealand to care for people who have experienced NFSS. This clinical programme is broken down into four modules, access to each module is determined by which category of MEDSAC membership is held.

The four clinical modules are:

  • An introduction to non-fatal strangulation and suffocation in the New Zealand context
  • Injury documentation and interpretation: non-fatal strangulation and suffocation
  • Expert report writing for cases involving non-fatal strangulation and suffocation
  • Forensic medical assessment and treatment of non-fatal strangulation and suffocation

Clinical module access criteria

You are entitled to access at least one of these modules if you are a registered doctor or nurse working in New Zealand:

  • in an acute care setting e.g., ED, A&M or GP clinic, and have an independent role in the assessment of patients with injuries
  • as a Police Medical Officer
  • in a funded Sexual Abuse Assessment and Treatment Service (SAATS)

How to access the clinical modules

Not yet a member of MEDSAC

Membership Info

Already a member of MEDSAC

Access NFSS Modules

NFSS Accreditation

MEDSAC offers a non-fatal strangulation/suffocation accreditation pathway. Contact the MEDSAC office for more details.

Email MEDSAC Phone MEDSAC: 09 376 1422