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Family Justice Center Offers Collaborative Approach to Strangulation Prevention Training

The Buncombe County Family Justice Center opened its doors on July 1, 2016 and in the past two years over 1,000 people have walked through the doors for the first time seeking services and support related to domestic and sexual violence. To continue the work of building multi-disciplinary approaches to addressing domestic and sexual violence, the Family Justice Center with support from the NC Governor’s Crime Commission held a multi-disciplinary training day on strangulation prevention on Friday, June 29. Participants included first responders, advocates, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, and medical professionals.

Statistics from the Training Institute for Strangulation Prevention show that 1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime and of those women, 10 percent will experience near-fatal strangulation by their partner. Strangulation has been identified as one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence and sexual assault: unconsciousness may occur within seconds and death within minutes. “Strangulation is a tactic that batterers often use to inflict serious, sometimes life-threatening, injuries on their victims,” says Helpmate Executive Director, April Burgess-Johnson. “Strangulation can be misidentified by law enforcement personnel, advocates, and medical personnel because injuries from strangulation can sometimes be hard to observe without specific equipment or specialized training. This training is essential to continuing to build and refine the skills of professionals in our community to respond to this dangerous form of violence.”

Strangulation prevention training will help the attendees to better recognize when strangulation has occurred and understand the potential health impacts of non-fatal strangulation. Equipped with this knowledge, they will be better able to support victims in safety planning and accessing medical treatment. 

“Today, more than 10 percent of the women killed each year in this country are strangled. The lack of external injuries and the lack of medical training for domestic violence professionals has minimized the focus on this type of violence,” stated Gael Strack, CEO of Alliance for HOPE International. The goal of the training is to improve knowledge and skills on recognizing and responding to strangulation injuries and focus on an integrated approach to responding to non-fatal strangulation cases.

If you have experienced domestic or sexual violence and want support, the agencies located at the Family Justice Center can help. Call 828-250-6900.