Study: Courts Minimize Previous Partner Violence When Battered Women Kill Their Batterers
Thursday, September 20, 2012 2:50 PM

Elisabeth Wells, a researcher at the University of Guelph, found that judges minimized descriptions of previous partner violence and emphasized the mutuality of the violence and substance abuse when sentencing battered women who kill their violent partners. Judges described domestic abuse as discrete episodes of violence, often fueled by alcohol, rather than as part of an ongoing pattern of serious domestic abuse. These descriptions undermine the claim that the victim was trapped in a seriously abusive relationship. The study recommends incorporating information about battered women’s resistance efforts into battered woman syndrome testimony and examining police decision making in cases of dual arrest.