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Lethality Indicators

Use of strangulation

Use of strangulation both indicates an increase in the severity of abuse as well as a higher risk of lethal violence (Campbell, 2017). One study found the likelihood of becoming a homicide victim increased sevenfold for women who had been strangled by their partner (Glass et al., 2008). Non-fatal strangulation assault often leaves no visible injuries. This fact simultaneously reduces the likelihood an abuser will be held accountable for the act, and serves as notice to the victim he is willing and able to kill her.

In circumstances where the victim has been strangled to the point of loss of consciousness on multiple occasions, the lethality risk is substantially higher (Campbell, 2017). Non-fatal strangulation was known to have occurred prior to the lethal incident in 23 percent of cases reviewed by the Project. It should be noted, however, that Project data is primarily sourced from open records of reported abuse by the victim; given this, and considering the victim was deceased and unable to tell us if they had experienced strangulation assault prior to their death, this percentage is likely to be an undercount.