Chapter 1
Introduction

This project

1.11The terms of reference for this project, which are in Appendix A, were concluded in July 2015. They require us to consider whether a crime of strangulation should be created, or whether other legislative or operational options would better address the concerns the proposed crime is intended to address. We must report by 31 March 2016.

1.12Given the tight timeframe and the relatively technical nature of the reference, we decided to conduct targeted consultation rather than publishing an issues paper for public comment as is our usual practice. A list of the people and organisations we consulted is in Appendix B. The consultees represented a broad range of stakeholders, including refuges, defence and prosecution counsel, Police, health practitioners, judges, academics and the Ministry of Justice.

1.13We found broad support for a separate offence of strangulation. Some consultees stressed that the labelling effect of a specific offence would help to increase understanding of this particular problem. Others thought it would assist the prosecution of strangulation. A couple of consultees were initially not in favour of a separate offence because, as a matter of principle, they preferred generic offences, but they conceded that there was a case for a separate offence in this instance.