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Legislators push to make strangulation a felony in Pennsylvania

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, there were 141 domestic violence-related in Pennsylvania last year; of the 97 victims killed, six were strangled.  Representative Becky Corbin, fellow legislators, prosecutors, and victims' rights advocates are urging the passage of legislation she has introduced that would make strangulation a felony.

They came together at the capital to introduce House Bill 1581 which would close a loophole in state law that has allowed some domestic abusers to escape prosecution. Bill supporters say strangulation doesn't neatly fit into existing criminal categories in the state.  Many abusers are then only faced with low-level misdemeanors that officials say don't show the seriousness of their crime.

"When police, or paramedics, arrive and find a victim conscious and alert, it's sometimes assumed that the assault must not have been that serious," Corbin said, "in reality, however, that individual may have been seconds from death-- nearly murdered."

If this bill is passed, Pennsylvania would join 35 other states with similar laws.