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Articles Posted in Circuit Splits

Battered Women’s Syndrome – Fact or Fiction? 


It is no secret that domestic abuse remains a largely gendered crime. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Some courts look to the “battered women’s syndrome” standard in expert testimony. Battered Women’s Syndrome is most often discussed when a woman murders her abusive partner. However, it can also be used to explain irrational behavior that stems from a fear of abuse.


Dr. Lenore Walker is largely credited with creating the term in the 1970s to describe the psychological damage and behavior traits that are common in women who are repetitively abused by a partner. Currently, there is a circuit split in the federal courts regarding the issue of whether expert testimony explaining a psychological phenomenon known as Battered Women’s Syndrome, be admissible in trial. 

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