The victim of a brutal samurai sword attack is backing a proposed law change that could see stranglers jailed for up to seven years.
At present, a gap in the law means offenders are often charged with the offence “male assaults female”, which carries only a two-year maximum jail term.
The Law Commission was asked by the justice minister last year to look into whether it should become a specific criminal offence, as it is in some other countries.
Simonne Butler, one of the victims of samurai sword attacker Antoine Dixon, said she supported the law change, because strangling was “a really common way for men to control women”.
The Law Commission’s report is very persuasive. Strangulation can come close to attempted murder but it is hard to get that level of proof. As it doesn’t leave wounds or broken bones, then the more serious assault charges are not available, so the person doing it only gets charged with a minor assault charge.
The seven year maximum sentence seems about right. The different assaults have the following maximums:
- Wounding with intent to cause GBH- 14 years
- Injuring with intent to cause GBH – 10 years
- Wounding with intent – 7 years
- Injuring with intent – 5 years
- Injuring by unlawful act – 3 years
- Aggravated assault – 3 years
- Assault with intent to injure – 3 years
- Assault on a child or male on female – 2 years
- Common assault – 1 year