Special course trains to spot signs of strangulation

Published: May. 13, 2019 at 5:24 PM CDT
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More than fifty law enforcement, health care providers and advocates from across the region learned how to investigate, document, prosecute, and prove cases of strangulations during an eight hour special training on Monday.

Dr. Bill Smock is the police surgeon for the Louisville Metro Police Department.

He's also the chair of the Institute on Strangulation Prevention National Medical Advisory Committee.

The training is one many Dr. Smock has participated in across the country over the last decade.

He says the crime, while deadly and serious, is often overlooked and is a challenge to present injuries.

In fact, survivors of strangulation are seven times more likely to become a victim of homicide by that same person, which is why he says it's important for all personnel who are working the case to ask the right questions.

"Without proper training somebody goes to the scene and says "yeah you have no marks on your neck. I don't think there was a strangulation" that couldn't be further from the truth because you can be fatally strangled, have brain damage and have no marks on your neck," said Dr. Smock. "If you don't recognize that by getting the right care and treatment you can stroke or die."

The training also focused on the importance of victim advocacy education.