Woman with hands on neck. Neck area is red indicating pain.

‘Being Choked’ is Strangulation

Pressure on the neck by any means, including when a person puts their hands or another object around another person’s neck is considered strangulation, and it is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence.  Even just 10 seconds of very little pressure on the carotid arteries can lead to unconsciousness.  Strangulation is common in domestic violence situations, and is very lethal.  In any case of strangulation AKA ‘being choked’, medical assessment is necessary.

Shadow of a woman with someone else's hands around her neck

What to do

  • Get out of the situation (however you can)
  • Call 911 if you can
  • Go to the nearest emergency department
  • If you go to PRHC – ask for the SA/DV Nurse (you will receive 1:1 nursing care within one hour)
  • Tell the paramedic or Triage nurse you have been strangled
  • Do not be alone for 48-72 hours after a strangulation assault
  • Make a plan to keep yourself safe
A woman with bruising around her left eye and scratches on her face

Next Steps

  • Create a safety plan with one of our network member organizations
  • Watch for dangerous symptoms – Click here for more info on what to look for
  • Take pictures of your injuries and send or store them somewhere safe. The Women’s Health SA/DV unit can also photograph your injuries
  • Monitor and document any effects of the assault.  Sore the log somewhere safe.  Click here for a form to document/track your injuries 
  • Follow up with your family doctor, nurse practitioner or other medical provider within a week
  • If you are pregnant – it is VERY IMPORTANT to follow up with your care provider

Please click here to access the handbook for survivors of domestic violence/intimate partner violence

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