Victims of Nonfatal Strangulation – SB 398/HB 482

February 6, 2024
Brett Engler, Chief of the Domestic Violence Unit, testified in favor of SB 398/HB 482: Criminal Injuries Compensation Board – Victims of Nonfatal Strangulation. The legislation would provide funding for life-saving emergency room care for victims of strangulation.
Strangulation is a deadly form of assault, and a victim of domestic violence who has been strangled, even once, is 750 times more likely to be killed by their abuser in the future. Many victims of non-fatal strangulation will avoid seeking critical care because of the expense, and/or out of fear that their abuser will learn that they reported the abuse to medical professionals through shared billing. This legislation would remove direct billing of patients for strangulation care, and instead fund the examinations through direct state reimbursement to medical providers.
Thank you to Senator William Folden, Delegate Karen Simpson for sponsoring the bill, and to the survivors, medical professionals, and advocacy organizations such as the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, who testified alongside us.