The purpose of this study is to improve our understanding of battered mothers involved in Hague Convention cases in the U.S. and to use this understanding to improve the legal system response to battered mothers and their children who, fleeing violent partners by crossing international borders, are subsequently charged under the Hague Convention. This proposal specifically addresses NIJ priorities for research to improve legal responses to intimate partner violence, particularly within diverse communities.
The applicant proposes to undertake a multi-tiered qualitative study of mothers, the attorneys who defend or prosecute them, and the judges who hear their cases under the Hague Convention. Specifically, they will: (a) conduct in-depth interviews with 25 women who have been prosecuted under the Hague Convention and collect documents relevant to their cases; (b) select 10 defense attorneys, 10 prosecuting attorneys and 10 judges for in-depth interviews; and finally (c) develop recommendations and protocols to be incorporated into scholarly journal articles, research conference presentations, a NIJ Research In-Brief, and a National Bench Guide for use in Hague Convention cases involving domestic violence.
The proposed research is the first step in understanding the situations of battered women and children who flee to the United States to find safe haven from a violent partner. These cases represent complicated situations confronting battered women, their children and legal practitioners, largely because these women and children confront both individual violence and international treaties that may not recognize their unusual circumstances. By obtaining information from these women and involved legal professionals about the circumstances surrounding prosecutions under the Hague Convention, we will increase the available information about the families in these cases and improve both attorney and judicial practice when confronting petitions under the Hague Convention.