We are wondering how other offices are handling family violence "strangulation" cases under 22.01(b)(2)(B). We are mostly seeing cases where the only evidence of strangulation is the victim claiming to have been "choked." Occasionally there will be photographic evidence of bruises/scratches to the throat, but we have not yet seen a case with any medical evidence confirming strangulation as described in the statute. I note that the TDCAA Family Violence Resource Notebook that I recently received has a section on questions for a strangulation expert along with a strangulation diagram. Are we missing something in the evidence collection or in taking the victim's statement? Should we expect there to be more evidence than just some bruising if strangulation occurred? Is there training available for law enforcement in this regard?
The following article may help if you haven't seen it already.
Thanks, Abdul. That's exactly the kind of info I need. I'm going to forward this article on to our local LE agencies.
The Sexual Assault Family Violence Investigators Course (SAFVIC) Program is designed to provide law enforcement officers around the state with the tools they need to effectively investigate and prevent sexual assault and family violence. The program is a free 24 Hour course for Law Enforcement officers. The SAFVIC Program is funded by a grant from the Criminal Justice Division, Office of the Governor and the National Violence Against Women Office. This program is administered by the Training & Research Institute for Professional Law Enforcement (TRIPLE) with input from a statewide steering committee composed of representatives from law enforcement, prosecution and victim services
I have taken on the majority of our FV Strangulation caseload here in Travis County and have gathered quite a bit of information.
The article above, by Gael is good and there are quite a few more resources and articles that can be read with this.
I also have a transcript from one of my recent trials where I called a Deputy Medical Examiner to testify about how few visible injuries there were in many strangulation cases (and why)--instead we talked about how certain "signs/symptoms" (i.e., coughing, sore throat) were indicators of strangulation and why. He also testified that strangulation is more of an obstruction injury rather than a blunt force injury. It allowed the jury to almost see these symptoms as non-visible injuries. Gael also has a Strangulation Training Kit DVD that is quite good and I believe it sells to Law Enforcement for about $100. We did a great training in Travis County about two years ago on strangulation with some speakers that were amazing. I also have quite a few other articles that are good in helping to understand the biggest misconception about strangulation (i.e., that there should be some profound visible injury).
I'm happy to put together a packet and email out what I can (let me check on what is OK to release), along with contact information for the speakers from our training and directions on how to order the training kit.
If you are interested, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I emailed Gael Strack about any of you interested in ordering the "Training Kit" and here was her reponse:
Our strangulation video can be purchased directly from our website. Happy to discuss a discount for a large order.
You should know that we have added a new section to our website called the Strangulation Institute. It has information about the DVD, new resources, training and recent news. Prosecutors should also read Chapter 16 on Strangulation from Oxford�s new book on Intimate Partner Violence. You can read it on-line for free. We have it linked from our website. All you need to do is double click the title, just right of the book: �Strangulation in Intimate Partner Violence�
And please keep checking our resource library under strangulation. We are always adding new things. Lastly, I am happy to provide training at your next statewide conference for prosecutors. That may also be a good way to get this information out to them.
Here is a link to many of the articles:
The FV Resource Notebook also has a chart for documenting strangulation injuries in the investigation section. Chart is also on the disk for easy reprinting and distribution.
In the same section are strangulation questions that are formatted to make fold over cards for officers to carry with them. That card was created by Sgt Eddie Hazel with Harris County Constable Pct 4.
Glad to know someone is using the notebook! Hope it helps.
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