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Donald A. Downs & James Fisher

In: Current Controversies on Family Violence

Chapter 15: Battered Woman Syndrome: Tool of Justice or False Hope in Self-Defense Cases?

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Battered Woman Syndrome: Tool of Justice or False Hope in Self-Defense Cases?
Battered woman syndrome: Tool of justice or false hope in self-defense cases?
Donald A.Downs and JamesFisher

For at least 25 years, lawyers and advocates of battered women have striven to make the legal system responsive to the dangerous plights of battered women who kill or commit other illegal acts. “Battered woman syndrome” (BWS) has emerged as a primary tool to accomplish this end. BWS has had many positive effects. It can be used to counter certain myths that prejudice defendants, such as the belief that battered women enjoy being beaten or that their failures to leave their relationships mean that they were not “really” abused. And it can be a component in the construction ...

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