Groundbreaking DV research partnership between CQUni and foundation

CQUniversity and the Red Rose Foundation have agreed to partner for groundbreaking research into the impacts of non-lethal strangulation on domestic violence victims.

The announcement followed a statement by a world expert late last year that Queensland’s legislation around the charge of choking/strangulation/suffocation needed amending, which came to light following a case in Central Queensland where a defendant assaulted his partner by sticking his fingers down her throat but was only charged with a breach of a domestic violence order.

The Morning Bulletin reached out the Red Rose Foundation in November after covering the sentencing of the above defendant.

The foundation’s chief executive officer, Betty Taylor, was in San Diego when The Bulletin contacted her and she ran the facts past Dr William Smock who said the facts met the criteria for the suffocation charge under section 315A of the Criminal Code (QLD) which was introduced May 5, 2016.

“The problem is that there is no definition within 315A … something we are lobbying for,” Ms Taylor said.

She said placement of fingers in mouth and/or throat inhibits a person’s ability to breath.

“To date, there has been no Australian research to promote an enhanced understanding of impacts on victims, both health and social, as well as limited indicators of best practice for all responders,” Ms Taylor said.

“Through our work with strangulation survivors, we are acutely aware of the damaging impacts of this serious form of violence. We are proud to partner with CQUni for this new research in association with the Red Rose Foundation’s signature program, the Australian Institute for Strangulation Prevention.”

CQUniversity-based Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research (QCDFVR) director Dr Heather Lovatt said non-lethal strangulation within domestic and family violence contexts was a serious and under-researched area.

“Over the next 12 months, QCDFVR and Red Rose Foundation will complete at least two projects focusing on the lived experience of survivors and on building the capacity of those who respond to the needs of survivors,” she said.

“We will share findings from these projects to contribute to greater understanding and appropriate responses to this issue … we hope to raise awareness and influence government policy and programs.

“Longer term, we will be exploring further research opportunities and collaborations, both nationally and internationally.”