Strangulation is where pressure is applied on or around the neck that interferes with blood circulation in the brain or breathing, or both. This pressure can be applied with one or both hands, or with a collar, rope, or clothing, like a scarf or shoelace, or by using other body parts to put pressure on the neck.

Strangulation is often experienced as part of sexual violence. Strangulation is also a common and dangerous way that perpetrators of domestic and family violence exert control over victims and survivors, making them feel afraid and that they are likely to be killed. Some studies show that strangulation in an abusive relationship indicates that violence in the relationship is increasing, and victims and survivors are more likely to be killed in the future.

Some people engage in strangulation as a form of rough sex or kinky sex. They may call it sexual choking or breath play, using a chokehold, being pinned, or being suffocated. Whatever you call it, putting pressure on someone’s neck so they struggle to breathe is a risky practice that can result in death and serious injury, and can also have legal implications for the person using the pressure.

Research shows that about half the time, strangulation leaves no visible injuries. However, there can still be internal injuries, including damage to the brain. It’s a good idea to encourage someone who has been strangled to visit a doctor and tell them they have had pressure applied to their neck so the doctor knows what to look out for.

This website contains resources we have produced or collated about strangulation, sexual choking and acquired brain injury. We have arranged them by who they will be most useful for: women, healthcare providers and other sorts of service providers.

RESOURCES

12 documents
These Guidelines are designed to improve responses to women with experiences of non-fatal strangulation, sexual choking and acquired brain injury. …
In July 2024, SBS News ran a media article entitled, most young Australians are doing this during sex. But they …
In July 2024, The Conversation ran a media article entitled, More than half of Australian young people are using strangulation …
In July 2024, ABC 730 featured a media story entitled, Experts warn of the dangers of consensual strangulation during sex. …
In July 2024, Women’s Agenda ran a media article entitled, More than half of young people use ‘choking’ during sex, …
In July 2024, The Age ran a media article entitled, Sexual strangulation can mean ‘minutes to death’, yet half of …
Want to tell women accessing your service about It Left No Marks? This is a series of print-ready promotional resources …
These training videos have been designed to improve service provider responses to women who have experienced non-fatal strangulation and who may …
This Ask LOIS webinar was a collaboration between Women’s Health NSW and Women’s Legal Service NSW. The webinar was broadcast …
This medical referral template was designed to support women’s self-advocacy with general practitioners when seeking medical assessment following non-fatal strangulation …
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