by | Jan 18, 2017 | Criminal Law

In October 2016, Governor Tom Wolf passed House Bill 1518, which makes strangulation a criminal offense in the state of Pennsylvania. This was signed into law as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness, and came into effect on January 1, 2017. By signing this bill into law, Pennsylvania has become the 37th state to take actions against a strangulation loophole. The bill was introduced by Representative Becky Corbin, and passed unanimously in the house.

Previously, in Pennsylvania, victims were required to have physical injuries in order to prove strangulation in domestic abuse cases. This was often difficult to do, and allowed many abusers to go unpunished. Pennsylvania reports 17 percent of students have experienced physical abuse in a relationship, almost twice the national average. Strangulation is a major form of abuse and control in relationships controlled by domestic violence. Strangulation is also seen as a risk factor for much more serious types of abuse.

This bill will allow abusers to be convicted of a felony assault for any type of strangulation. This includes if the perpetrator is a friend or family member, cases of strangulation during a sexual assault, or if the victim is under a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order.  This will also allow law enforcement officers to “charge abusers to the fullest extent of the law” says Governor Wolf.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Domestic Abuse, contact the proper authorities immediately. If you are seeking legal help or consultation for a domestic abuse case, contact Tim Fleming at


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