Domestic Strangulation Focus Of New TPD Policy
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Police are making a policy change to better help victims of domestic violence.
The Tulsa Police Department is working on a new policy that would require officers to give a card to victims of domestic violence who admit they have been strangled.
When most people think of strangulation, they expect to see bruises and scratches on the neck and bloodshot eyes.
However, SANE nurse Kathy Bell said some victims show no physical signs of trauma at all.
"Often times they won't see it as a big deal, they will minimize it,” said Bell.
"One of the symptoms of strangulation is memory loss. You are not going to remember when an officer or advocate tells you, hey this is dangerous," said Tulsa Police Sergeant Clay Asbill.
Even if the symptoms aren't always obvious, Bell says strangulation can cause long-term health issues. Seizures and strokes could show up weeks or even months after a strangulation.
"We get concerned that if there are tears in the arteries or vessels in the neck, that those kind of things could happen," Bell said.
So, the Family Violence Unit created cards to pass out to victims.
The card explains all the problems a victim might experience after a being strangled and encourages them to get checked out.
"We can't make them follow through, we can't make them go to the hospital but we can at least tell them, hey this is dangerous, this is why," said Sergeant Asbill.
This is all in hopes of preventing an already bad situation from getting worse.
"Here in Oklahoma, we have a high rate of strangulation. I don't know why that is but we do," Asbill said, "If we can help one person, it's worth it."
Even though it's not policy yet, some police officers are already handing out the cards.