Nichelle Mitchem Discusses Advocacy, Resources, and Training for Battered Women & Their Legal Counsel
The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women serves a resource for battered women and their advocates. For more than two decades, the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women has served as a resource and advocacy center for battered women charged with crimes related to their battering. Through the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women’s work, the organization aims to increase justice for — and prevent further victimization of — arrested, convicted, or incarcerated battered women.
The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women works with battered women who have been arrested and are facing trial, as well as those who are serving prison sentences. Traditionally, these cases involve women who have defended themselves against life-threatening violence at the hands of their abuser, and have been charged with assault or homicide. The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women also assists in cases where women have been coerced into crime by their abuser, are charged with “failing to protect” their children from their abuser’s violence, or are charged with “parental kidnapping” after fleeing to protect themselves or their children from their abuser.
The National Clearinghouse’s staff provides customized technical assistance to battered women charged with crimes and to members of their defense teams (defense attorneys, advocates, expert witnesses and others). The National Clearinghouse does not provide direct representation to battered women charged with crimes. Rather, the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women’s staff provides information and resources to defense teams at any stage of the legal process (pre-trial, when the case is on appeal, and in limited circumstances, during post-conviction proceedings) in an effort to increase the likelihood of a better – and more just – outcomes. The women that the National Clearinghouse for Battered Women assists might be facing trial or considering a plea, going through a trial, waiting to be sentenced, or their case might be on appeal.
The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women is the first and only national organization that focuses exclusively on battered women charged with crimes. Over the years, the National Clearinghouse has been instrumental in increasing public awareness about the many complex issues facing battered women who end up charged with crimes and in building alliances among national, state-wide, and local organizations and countless individuals to work to stem the tide of injustices facing battered women defendants and incarcerated battered women.
In addition to providing individualized technical assistance, National Clearinghouse staff conducts seminars for members of the criminal justice and advocacy communities, and for the general public, regarding the unique experiences of battered women defendants. Additionally, it maintains a resource library that contains a comprehensive collection of articles, case law, litigation materials, and legislation relevant to battered women who find themselves in conflict with the law.
The staff of the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women will work with you to assess the situation and determine which of its resources might be most helpful. For further information, you can call the National Clearing House of Battered women at 800/903-0111.
For general information on domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website www.thehotline.org or call 800-787-3224.
Source: National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
Photo Credit Microsoft Clip Art
There are many commonly held myths on the phenomenon of domestic violence. This blog post seeks to disabuse the reader of commonly held myths about domestic violence. These domestic violence myths include but are not limited to the following:
MYTH: Domestic violence is a private family matter between a husband and a wife. Here are the facts:
- Domestic violence is a crime against society.
- About 1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. (Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)
- In 1996, 30% of all female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1997)
- 40% to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse children. (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family, 1996)
MYTH: Women and men engage in domestic violence at approximately the same rate. Here are the facts:
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:
- 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
- Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers.
- 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse. (Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005))
Domestic violence only happens to poor women and women of color.
- Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any socio-economic status, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.
MYTH: Some people deserve to be hit. Here are the facts:
- No one deserves to be abused. The only person responsible for the abusive behavior is the abuser.
- Physical violence is against the law.
MYTH: Alcohol, drug abuse, stress, and mental illness cause domestic violence. Here are the facts:
- Domestic violence is a learned behavior.
- Abusers choose to abuse his/her partner.
- Alcohol use, drug use, and stress do not cause domestic violence. The afore-referenced conditions might exist in a relationship where domestic violence is present, but they do not cause the violence. Abusers seek to find excuses for their violence.
- Domestic violence is rarely caused by mental illness, but it is often used as an excuse for domestic violence.
MYTH: If the relationship is abusive, she would just leave. Here are the facts:
- There are many reasons why women may not leave. Not leaving does not indicate that the relationship is healthy.
- Research has taught us that leaving can be very dangerous for victims of domestic violence. Actually, in some cases, the most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave.
Domestic violence is not a problem in my community.
- Research indicates that women worldwide experience domestic violence.
For information on domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website www.thehotline.org or call 800-787-3224.
Source(s): Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005))