Battered Women Syndrome Essay

1913 Words8 Pages
1 What is battered women syndrome? Battered women syndrome (“BWS”) is a series of psychological and behavioural expressions evident in women who are in violent and abusive relationships. The woman is a victim of physical, sexual or psychological abuse by her partner. Studies have shown that battered women do not usually kill their abusers during the actual abuse. If this were the case, many would have a successful chance of succeeding with private defence. Most battered women, however, kill their abusive partner when they are at their most vulnerable, such as asleep or in a drunken state. BWS allows the courts to understand through expert evidence, the findings of psychologists, as to why these battered women do not leave their partner or call the police. They call it learned helplessness where the woman is tyrannised into thinking that there is no escape from their situation. 2 Battered women syndrome regarding criminal incapacity 2 1 Non-pathological criminal incapacity Battered women have used non-pathological criminal incapacity as a defence to killing their abusers. Non-pathological criminal incapacity is the instance in which the accused alleges that they were unable to direct their conduct with insight to what was right and wrong. This conduct is due to a…show more content…
He remarked that courts should not accept non-pathological criminal incapacity as a defence as there is no difference between non-pathological criminal incapacity resulting from stress or provocation and the defence of sane automatism. If one chose to accept the defence, one must approach with extreme caution. Expert evidence is vital to the defence and the court must take into account what happened before and after the incident. Policy considerations should be referred to rather than legal principles. He questioned whether the defence should be done away with or whether it should be kept for deserving

More about Battered Women Syndrome Essay

Open Document