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Choking, suffocation or strangulation in a domestic setting

It is an offence for a person to choke, suffocate or strangle another person with whom they are, or have been, in a relationship with and without that person’s consent [Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s 20A].

Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 7 years.

There is no requirement under the Act that harm be intended or caused by the action of choking, suffocation or strangulation.

The definition of in a relationship for the purposes of this offence is broader than an intimate relationship and incorporates family relationships such as that between a parent and child and between siblings.

Two people are in a relationship (or taken to have been in a relationship) with each other if:

  • they are married to each other;
  • they are domestic partners;
  • they are in some other form of intimate personal relationship in which their lives are interrelated and the actions of one affects the other;
  • one is the child, stepchild or grandchild, or is under the guardianship, of the other (regardless of age);
  • one is a child, stepchild or grandchild, or is under the guardianship, of a person who is or was formerly in a relationship with the other;
  • one is a child and the other is a person who acts in loco parentis in relation to the child;
  • one is a child who normally or regularly resides or stays with the other;
  • they are siblings (brothers or sisters, or brother and sister);
  • they are otherwise related to each other by or through blood, marriage, a domestic partnership or adoption;
  • they are related according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules;
  • they are both members of some other culturally recognised family group;
  • one is the carer (within the meaning of the Carers Recognition Act 2005 (SA)) of the other.

See Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s 20A(3).

Choking, suffocation or strangulation in a domestic setting  :  Last Revised: Wed Jan 30th 2019
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.