2019 Criminal Code amendment adds strangulation as separate offence
New strangulation law raises awareness of domestic violence, holds offenders accountable
More than 200 strangulation-related charges have been laid in Waterloo region since it became a separate offence under the Criminal Code two years ago.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) said so far this year, it has laid 120 charges, 10 of which were laid in November. Even with two months left in 2021, this year saw more cases than the previous when a total of 103 charges were laid.
There may be several factors contributing to the rise in numbers, says Staff Sgt. Jamie Brosseau, who's in charge of the regional police's intimate partner violence unit.
"Could it be an increase in that type of crime in the community? Yes, it could be. Could it be that we are better at detecting, investigating and, as a result, obviously laying charges and prosecuting those types of criminal offences? That could be an element as well," said Brosseau.
"I think there's probably pieces of both in there," he added.
While these assaults are rising in the region, the amendment to the law is helping raise awareness of domestic violence and holding offenders accountable, experts say.
In 2019, Criminal Code Section 267, which addresses assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, was amended to include an additional offence that factors in choking, suffocation or strangulation. If convicted, an offender could face imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Criminal Code Section 272, which addresses sexual assault, also had a subsection added, factoring in a similar offence related to strangulation.