Brigham Young University Prelaw Review


Heather Zahn


Battered Woman Syndrome, self-defense


Battered Woman Syndrome refers to "the unique physiological and behavioral reactions exhibition by a person living in a violent relationship." The reaction in self-defense, is sometimes deadly force or the use of a deadly weapon for which women are sent to prison.

This syndrome has become a serious issue in courtrooms across the nation. This Paper will address the issues involved in sentencing and trying women who kill their abusers.

Two main issues are involved, the use of expert witnesses in the courtroom and the definition of self-defense. Legislation is currently being passed to address these issues. This paper cites two cases in which the "Battered Woman Syndrome" defense is used.

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