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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 15, 2019 12:59 PM
From: Representative Christina D. Sappey
To: All House members
Subject: Strangulation
Our criminal justice system was established with the expressed purpose of delivering swift and fair justice to victims of crime throughout the Commonwealth. In the pursuit of justice, our courts must take into consideration all criminal activity the accused have on their record. Furthermore, when deciding matters as delicate and critical as the placement of a child in a custody dispute, courts cannot afford to be given anything less than the full picture. Act 111 of 2016 established the criminal offense of strangulation in Pennsylvania. This long overdue addition to our Crimes Code provides yet another offense that must be considered when deliberating the crimes of the accused.

My legislation is necessary to ensure that not only will “strangulation” be on the books as a primary offense, but that a prior strangulation conviction will also be recognized and considered by the courts. This is perhaps nowhere more critical than in domestic violence situations.

The pervasiveness of strangulation in domestic violence situations is truly shocking. Studies have revealed the following chilling statistics:
  • Ten percent of violent deaths amongst women in the United States can be attributed to strangulation.
  • Women who have been choked by an intimate partner are 10 times more likely to be killed by that partner.

I hope that you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation to help prevent further deaths directly linked to strangulation.

Introduced as HB249