SALEM, Ore. -- The Oregon Senate unanimously voted to pass a bill that would increase the penalty for strangulation.
Senate Bill 1562 expands the definition of strangulation. It adds the applied pressure to the victim's chest. The bill also makes strangulation a Class C felony if the victim is a family or household member.
"It is well known that domestic violence is not an issue of anger management or lack of control," said Sen. Kathleen Taylor. "It is about power and control. Abusers use a variety of tactics to gain power and control over their partners."
Clackamas Women's Services said strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence. They said a man who strangles a woman once is 750 percent more likely to kill her later.
"Recognizing this crime as a felony is an important step in expanding victim safety," said Sen. Chuck Thomsen.
Sen. Kim Thatcher added that the amount of trauma a person goes through physically and mentally when subjected to strangulation is indescribable. She said classifying that level of violence and trauma as a Class A misdemeanor is shocking.
Currently, the penalty for strangulation includes a maximum jail sentence of 364 days and a maximum fine of $6,250. Senate Bill 1562 changes it to a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $125,000 when:
-The offense is committed in the presence of, or witnessed by, a minor child, stepchild or minor child residing in the household;
-The victim is younger than 10 years old;
-The person used, attempted or threatened to use a dangerous or deadly weapon;
-The person has previously been convicted of strangulation, assault or menacing against the same victim;
-The person has at least three prior convictions for strangulation, assault or menacing; or
-The person knows the victim was pregnant.
The bill is now going to the House of Representatives for further consideration.