Non-fatal Strangulation/Suffocation (NFSS)
Non-fatal strangulation is a common and dangerous form of intimate partner violence and is a criminal offence in Aotearoa New Zealand
Strangulation (often confused with "choking") is when pressure is applied on or around the neck with enough force to reduce or stop breathing, or change the blood supply to and/or from the brain. This means that less oxygen is reaching the brain. Pressure can be applied in different ways - with one or two hands, or with something like a rope, or anything that puts pressure onto the throat. Suffocation is when breathing is reduced or stopped either by a) obstruction over the nose and mouth or b) compression on the chest or abdomen so that the lungs cannot expand and take in air. "Choking" is different as it refers to a blockage inside the throat which makes it hard to breathe.
In 2018, a new offence of strangulation or suffocation came into force in Aotearoa New Zealand. This carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment (section 189A of the Crimes Act 1961).
Go to your doctor or local urgent medical centre, the hospital, or call an ambulance (dial 111) if you experience any of the following:
If after seeing a medical practitioner about being strangled you develop new bruises or swelling, or feel worried, see your family doctor (GP) for a check or contact the doctor that you saw initially (if different) - they may be able to give you advice over the phone.
The following mild problems usually get better without any treatment, but if they persist for 2 weeks, see your family doctor for advice:
Strangulation injuries can have as big an impact on your psychological wellbeing as they can on your physical health. Seeing a counsellor can help provide you with support. Your GP, practice nurse, or the clinic that were assessed at initially, will be able to direct you to some local agencies who will be able to assist you.
If you are a victim of family violence or in a relationship that makes you fearful about your own or anyone else's safety, seek help as soon as possible. You have the right to be safe.