Battered Woman Syndrome

Battered woman syndrome (BWS), first proposed in the 1970s after research demonstrated the psychological impact from domestic violence on the victim, has undergone further clarification since its inception. This entry reviews the historical issues concerning domestic violence and its victims in the criminal justice system (including the criminal and family courts), describes psychological theories about domestic violence victims and the BWS, and discusses the application of the BWS in legal context.

History of Domestic Violence and the Law

Domestic violence is defined as the physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse by one person (mostly men) of another person (mostly women) with whom there is an intimate relationship, in order to get that person to do what the abuser wants without regard for that person's rights. Domestic violence is ...

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