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Non-fatal strangulation

Solicitors specialising in defending allegations of non-fatal strangulation (London & Manchester)

The offence of non-fatal strangulation is a new offence which came into being under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

The Domestic Abuse Act will change the landscape for the investigation and prosecution of domestic abuse offences. Investigations in relation to alleged domestic abuse incidents are on the increase, greater police resources are being made available and the definition of many offences is being widened. Frequently a complaint in relation to one incident can lead to a number of possible offences being considered by the police. As a consequence of the Act we are already seeing a change in approach and investigations becoming wider in terms of the potential offences under investigation.

Early indicators suggest that the offence of non-fatal strangulation is being used mainly in relation to domestic abuse investigations. The Olliers team of specialists has substantial experience in successfully representing clients facing of allegations of domestic abuse.

Non-fatal strangulation has now been a criminal offence since 7th June 2022. Crown Prosecutors have new powers to charge suspects with the following specific offences, namely non-fatal strangulation and non-fatal suffocation.

The act of non-fatal strangulation involves the intentional strangling of another person or any other act that affects a person’s breathing. The maximum sentence is five years’ imprisonment.

The offence is made out if a suspect ‘intentionally strangles another person’, or does any other act that affects their ability to breathe, and constitutes a battery.

Click here to read about the recent sentencing update regarding intentional strangulation. (April 2023)


Frequently allegations are denied. Many clients have an explanation for what is alleged. It is a defence to show that the alleged victim consented to the strangulation or other act. However, the defence does not apply if serious harm is suffered as a result of the strangulation or other act, and the suspect either intended to cause serious harm, or was reckless as to whether would occur.

The Olliers’ strategy

Our experience means that we understand the complexity of cases involving allegations of domestic abuse.  We appreciate that matters are rarely as straightforward as they may initially seem. In the first instance, investigators will inevitably have only one side of the story.

Allegations may date back over extended periods, they are rarely one off events and they may be combined with allegations of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse. Frequently allegations of domestic abuse run alongside other issues between the parties, for example separation, divorce, issues in relation to children, finances or third party relationships.

At Olliers, we understand the complexity of cases involving allegations of domestic abuse.  We appreciate that matters are rarely as straightforward as may be initially be presented by police or prosecutors who will inevitably have only one side of the story.

Pre-charge approach

We are frequently contacted by clients who have been asked to attend a voluntary interview. If a client was interviewed under arrest we may be contacted once they are on bail or released under investigation. The pre-charge stage of the case is absolutely crucial. It is the opportunity for the defence to go on the front foot adopting a proactive approach to pre-charge engagement with investigators.

At Olliers, we will always look to make successful representations against charge and prevent clients being prosecuted in the first place something we discuss in more detail here. We look to engage with the police at an early stage of an investigation. We always consider whether we can make representations against charge, by arguing that there is not a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’ or that it is not in the public interest to prosecute.

Contact our specialist team

If you face an allegation of domestic abuse of any kind, it is important not to sit back and leave the police to investigate the matter. Please contact one of our specialist defence lawyers as soon as possible by completing the form below, telephoning 0161 8341515 (Manchester) or 020 3883 6790 (London) or by emailing info@olliers.com.

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