Maricopa County Police Department Focusing on Domestic Violence Strangulation Cases
Arizona prosecutors have implemented new programs to help gather evidence in domestic violence cases involving strangulation which have helped increase the rate of prosecutions for domestic violence and are believed to have contributed to the declining number of homicides due to domestic violence in Arizona over the past 3 years.
In recent years police have noted interesting trends on domestic violence cases where strangulation is involved. For example, did you know that a women who is strangled during domestic violence is seven times more likely to become a victim of domestic violence homicide at some future date? Or, did you know that strangulation cases are normally difficult to detect and prosecute as the damage from strangulation can take days to show up? Finally, did you know that the damage done during strangulation can cause swelling that can kill several days after the incident and long after doctor or hospital visits have completed?
Cases of domestic violence involving strangulation can be particularly hard to prosecute due to the amount of time strangulation evidence can take to show up. Luckily hospitals and prosecutors are getting better at detection methods. In 2012 Maricopa County prosecutors implemented a program to gather better evidence in suspected strangulation cases. These methods involve forensic nurses promoting follow up visits several days after the event for better detection and documentation, the use of special cameras that can detect the fine damage to capillaries in the neck, behind the lips, and around the eyes, and a more thorough medical questionnaire for the victim.
Fortunately, the results of this program are clear. Prior to implementation roughly 15 percent of suspected strangulation cases were prosecuted. After the program was implemented this has jumped to over 60 percent. In addition, the rate of domestic violence fatalities overall has been dropping significantly over the past 3 years. The program is being widely noticed around the country and being implemented by other agencies.
Domestic violence, especially cases involving strangulation, are a danger in many ways. In such cases a competent lawyer is a must to help set up protective or restraining orders and provide greater peace of mind about your personal safety.