For 17 years Chasm Creek woman Deb Thomson suffered in silence while her abusive partner strangled her, now the gravity of her being strangled will be recognised by Tasmanian legislation.
After ongoing advocacy, parliamentary pressure spanning a number of years and all states of Australia legislating or moving to legislate against non-fatal strangulation, the offence will become a standalone offence in Tasmanian law.
IN OTHER NEWS: Launceston's blockbuster AFL match sold out
"I experienced non-fatal strangulation a number of times during the 17 year relationship with my then husband who was a violet abuser but I didn't understand at the time the seriousness of this form of abuse," Ms Thomson said.
"But it's so serious, it is the clearest indicator of escalating violence and often leads to eventual homicide."
Tasmanian attorney-general Elise Archer announced the offence's introduction in the wake of a long running Sentencing Advisory Council report into non-fatal strangulation being released.
"A standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation will be introduced in Tasmania, appropriately recognising the seriousness of this behaviour and allowing it to be charged and prosecuted as a specific criminal offence," she said.
Premier Peter Gutwein had previously foreshadowed the implementation of a standalone offence in the lead up to the election when quizzed at The Examiner's Election Debate.
Under its remit the Sentencing Advisory Council was unable to officially recommend the introduction of a standalone offence for non-fatal strangulation but recommended amending existing legislation to recognise the significance of the offence.
The Council also noted that it hoped the report would inform the community about how significant non-fatal strangulation in family violence relationships was.
Council chair Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg said when researching and writing the report the extent and gravity of the offence was not adequately recognised.
"It was a very steep learning curve for us," he said.
"People need to understand what this problem is and the need to then report to police, then the police to prosecute, and courts to treat it with seriousness.
He said a lesson could be taken from the report given the statutory experts that formed the Council were unaware of the offence's seriousness.
The fact [non-fatal strangulation] is as prevalent as the statistics show, I was not aware of its prevalence in Australia and Tasmania.Sentencing Advisory Council chair Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg
For advocacy groups, the significance of non-fatal strangulation has been a persistent and ongoing concerns for years.
The correlation between strangulation and homicide were thrust onto the Tasmanian agenda in 2014 after the murder of Sorell woman Jodi Eaton.
Ms Eaton was murdered by Darren Michael Dobson who had at least five recorded instances of choking women he knew.
Less than two years before Ms Eaton was murdered Dobson was bailed on a charge of common assault he received for strangling his former partner.
Engender Equality chief executive Alina Thomas said the fight for recognition of the gravity of the offence started then, seven years ago.
Ms Thomas said recognition in legislation was timely and important and commended the government on the move.
She said along with the legislative changes, discussion about education for the community, first responders, general practitioners and the judiciary was vital.
"The training needs to have a wide scope and be in depth in terms of understanding how that tactic of abuse is used and the long term impacts that can through a persons lifetime," Ms Thomas said.
Women's Legal Service Tasmania has also continually recognised the extent of non-fatal strangulation in family violence relationships.
Principal solicitor Elise Whitmore said the legislating against non-fatal strangulation had the potential to make a lasting impact in combatting violence against women.
One of the biggest reasons we wanted it to be legislated was to bring attention to the risk associated. Women are seven times more likely to be killed if they are a victim of non-fatal strangulation."Women's Legal Service Tasmania principal solicitor Elise Whitmore
"The new offence will allow tracking non-fatal strangulation at Supreme and Magistrate court levels."
The Sentencing Advisory Council's recommendations made the importance of picking up non-fatal strangulation during the court process, and before it led to homicide, clear.
"Amend the Sentencing Act 1997 (Tas) to provide that strangulation and suffocation are aggravating circumstances in relation to an offence," it read.
"Amend section 13A of the Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas) to provide for the recording of non-fatal strangulation as a particular of a family violence offence on a person's criminal record.
"Amend the Sentencing Act 1997 (Tas) to provide for the recording of non-fatal strangulation as a particular of the offence on a person's criminal record in cases other than family violence cases."
Ms Thomson said reading what the Council reported was a relief after a long journey.
"This advocating has gone on for years," she said.
[But] it's been worth the amount of time it has taken. We have never wavered in that advocacy and we knew how important it was for that law reform to take place. Now it will be legislated, there are so many positives from this.Non-fatal strangulation survivor Deb Thomson
"It sends a message to abusers that they will be held responsible for this crime and society no longer tolerates intimate partner abuse."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: