Staten Island DA McMahon, Mayor’s Office, Arab-American Family Support Center, In Effort To End Domestic Violence, Present Training On Supporting Survivors Of Non-Fatal Strangulation


Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, and Arab-American Family Support Center Join Forces to Present Staten Island’s First Ever Training on Supporting Survivors of Non-Fatal Strangulation

Multi-Disciplinary training, supported by the NYPD, FDNY, Safe Horizon, and NYC Health + Hospitals provided best practices to all who support those whose lives are impacted by horrific acts of violence

This past Tuesday, Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon joined with the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence and the Arab-American Family Support Center to present “Non-Fatal Strangulation: Best Practices for Supporting Survivors” (NFST). The half-day conference was designed to equip first responders, including law enforcement officers and EMS/Paramedics, with the tools and knowledge needed to identify and treat individuals who survive episodes of strangulation that, thankfully, do not claim their lives. The day also included a “live scene” demonstration led by Executive ADA for Special Victims and Pathways to Justice Tuesday Muller-Mondi, who guided attendees in mirroring what an actual crime scene typically looks like, and discussed what first responders should document from a prosecutor’s perspective to enable the District Attorney’s office to build the best and most effective cases.

“Survivors of sexual, domestic, and intimate partner violence are among the most vulnerable people we serve on a daily basis, and my team of dedicated prosecutors and victim advocates do all they can to help secure justice on their behalf and ensure their needs are met after experiencing horrible trauma,” said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. “Survivors of strangulation are especially sensitive to subsequent health issues and further victimization, which is why it was so important and timely for my office to co-sponsor this training along with our incredible colleagues and partners in government to make certain that any survivor of this terrible crime on Staten Island is treated as compassionately, wholistically, and effectively as possible.”

Contrary to popular understanding, strangulation is not choking and is not suffocating, which is language often used by victims to describe their experience. Strangulation is a deliberate act to restrict someone’s breathing that has long-lasting impacts on the physical and mental health of survivors. This level of deliberate violence is most common in domestic and intimate partner relationships and is a proven indicator of more serious violence to follow.

Those who experience non-fatal strangulation during a domestic violence incident are 750 percent more likely to have their lives end in homicide.

“For the past two years, ENDGBV has convened a quarterly roundtable with our City and community-based partners to lift up best practices and to encourage collaboration across disciplines to ensure survivors of non-fatal strangulation are connected to the resources and support they need,” said Cecile Noel, Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. “This training series was initiated as part of these roundtables and will be offered in each borough to provide an overview of non-fatal strangulation, including: medical aspects and local hospital resources, mental health impacts and supports, safety planning and navigating systems as well as legal and criminal responses. I thank our partner Richmond County District Attorney, Michael McMahon, and his incredible team and our invaluable partner Arab-American Family Support Center for coordinating this week’s training which not only helps further develop our tools to support survivors who may be at risk for non-fatal strangulation but also strengthens health outcomes for survivors.”

Lindsay Gebhart, Arab-American Family Support Center’s Vice President of Resource Development said: “Non-fatal strangulation is an all-too-common form of domestic and gender-based violence that indicates a direct risk of fatality. Understanding the physical signs of strangulation for communities of color and how it is indirectly described by victims is key to keeping families in Staten Island and New York City safe. When nonprofits, the police department, government officials, and local hospitals work together and educate one another, a path to keeping these vulnerable populations informed and heard can be found.”

Dr. Brigitte Alexander, Emergency Medicine Physician & Director of Forensic Clinical Services at Kings County Hospital and SUNY Downstate Medical Center said: “We would like to increase public awareness of the impact of trauma on our healthcare system public safety. We need to improve our medical knowledge for patient care and to have direct input for developing policy building that impacts our medical communities. We believe medical personnel have an ethical obligation to safeguard our patients and have a critical role to provide medical and forensic care to all.



Dr. Keesandra Kerline Agenor, Clinical Forensic Medicine Fellow and Emergency Medicine Physician said: “The Clinical Forensic Medicine Fellowship at NYC Health and Hospitals Kings County was created out of a necessity, in order to create a multidisciplinary patient centered approach to address the medical, social and forensic needs of all survivors of emotional, sexual, and physical, including domestic violence. As we know, strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence. Victims of strangulation have a 750% chance of being killed by the individual who strangled them. If we do not seek to identify these victims and provide them with the adequate evaluation, treatment, and social and judicial resources before their homicide, we are turning a blind eye to violence, life-changing disabilities and deaths that could have been prevented.”

Banner Image: District Attorney Michael E. McMahon and Attendees at the event. Image Credit – Office of DA McMahon


One Comment

  • Avatar Annie Maldonado says:

    It’s misogyny. And now in this day and age a lot of people are coming back to this idea. Not me. I am happy I was born in the USA. Let’s not become like some…other…places. I miss the NY women’s lib scene of the early eighties. Really not about politics, just trying to get respect.

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