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The Quebec prosecutor’s office and Montreal police have announced a pilot project that focuses on strangulation in cases of domestic violence. This initiative aims to improve police response by training officers and units to better identify cases involving strangulation, as victims of such assaults are at a significantly higher risk of being killed by their partner. Despite the alarming frequency of reported cases of intimate partner strangulation in Montreal, authorities believe that the numbers do not fully represent the extent of the issue, as domestic violence is widely underreported. Studies have shown that strangulation is a strong predictor of homicide, emphasizing the need for intervention and support for victims who have experienced such violence.

The Institute on Strangulation Prevention reported that individuals who have faced non-fatal strangulation incidents with their intimate partners are 750% more likely to be killed by the same offender. Strangulation has been identified as one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence, with unconsciousness occurring within seconds and death within minutes. The collaboration between the Quebec prosecutor’s office and Montreal police also aims to provide victims with more support from partner organizations like Crime Victims Assistance Centres, ensuring they receive information about potential symptoms following the assault. This initiative, inspired by similar efforts in the U.S., aims to be implemented citywide and potentially shared with other police forces.

Gael Strack, co-founder of the Institute on Strangulation Prevention, highlighted the severity and danger associated with offenders who strangle their victims, emphasizing that such individuals are the most dangerous domestic violence offenders. In Canada, legislation against choking, suffocation, and strangulation was introduced in 2019 through Bill C-75. The data on intimate partner violence in Quebec shows that a significant percentage of women have experienced at least one act of violence in their lifetime, with women being more likely to experience repeated and severe acts of violence linked to coercive control. Statistics Canada shows that a high percentage of solved homicides involve victims killed by an intimate partner, indicating the need for increased awareness and intervention in cases of domestic violence.

For individuals experiencing abuse or in crisis, various resources are available for support. In case of emergency, individuals can call 911 for immediate assistance. The Department of Justice’s Victim Services Directory provides a list of support services, and additional resources can be found online for women, trans, and non-binary individuals. In Quebec, SOS Violence conjugale can be contacted at 1-800-363-9010 by phone or 1-438-601-1211 by text. Shield of Athena’s Montreal office can be reached at 514-274-8117 or 1-877-274-8117 for further assistance. These resources are crucial for providing support to victims of domestic violence and ensuring their safety and well-being in times of crisis.

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