667. Hon Alison Xamon to the parliamentary secretary representing the Minister for Health:
I refer to research findings regarding the health and social implications of non-fatal strangulation in family and domestic violence cases, and I ask:
(a) do any Western Australian Health protocols or procedures directly relate to responses to incidences of non-fatal strangulation;
(b) if yes to (b), which protocols or procedures;
(c) is any specific education or advice provided to health workers regarding non-fatal strangulation;
(d) if yes to (c), please provide information about the education or advice.;
(e) if no to (c), why not;
(f) are health staff required to record incidents of non-fatal strangulation in family and domestic violence cases;
(g) if no to (f), why not;
(h) is the Department undertaking any research to establish an evidence base for the prevalence of non-fatal strangulation in Western Australia;
(i) if yes to (h), please provide information about any research being planned or undertaken.;
(j) is there any intention to review the approach taken to family and domestic violence to take into account recent findings regarding non-fatal strangulation, and in particular regarding the potential for delayed lethality; and
(k) if no to (j), why not?
Hon Alanna Clohesy replied:
I am advised that:
(b) The WA Health Guideline for Responding to Family and Domestic Violence 2014 and the Assessment Family and Domestic Violence (FDV 951) form identify ‘Incidents of strangulation and choking’ as a risk factor. There are referral pathways and consultation actions for health professionals to follow if these incidents have been identified.
The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) has a state-wide education and training role. The SARC Local Clinical Guideline DC 48 – Strangulation, identifies pathways for responding to non-fatal strangulation in the context of sexual assault. This document is currently being reviewed in the context of best practice information and research findings.
(d) Education provided to clinicians by the SARC medical forensic team includes specific information on the appropriate emergency response to non-fatal strangulation in the context of sexual assault, including the potential for delayed clinical consequences.
(e) Not applicable.
(g) Not applicable.
(i) SARC has participated in research establishing an evidence base for the prevalence of non-fatal strangulation in Western Australia in the context of sexual assault. SARC research findings have been published and demonstrate increased likelihood of non-fatal strangulation in sexual assault where the alleged assailant is identified as an intimate partner:
Renate R. Zilkens, Maureen A. Phillips, Maire C. Kelly, S. Aqif Mukhtar, James B. Semmens, Debbie A. Smith, Non-fatal strangulation in sexual assault: A study of clinical and assault characteristics highlighting the role of intimate partner violence, Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 43 (2016) 1e7
(j) The SARC guidelines have been updated to reflect the latest information and research on non-fatal strangulation. The current FDV guidelines were written prior to the establishment of the knowledge base around non-fatal strangulation, however, there is an intention that they will also be reviewed.
(k) Not applicable.