Passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 signaled a significant change in U.S. efforts to control and prevent such crimes as domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking; the act explicitly recognizes domestic violence as a serious crime that harms not only immediate victims but also families, children, and the larger community.
Section 40507 of the Violence Against Women Act requires that three issues be addressed: (1) medical and psychological testimony on the validity of battered women's syndrome as a psychological condition; (2) compilation of Federal, State, and tribal court cases in which evidence of battered women's syndrome was offered in criminal trials; and (3) assessment by Federal, State, and tribal judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys on effects that evidence of battered women's syndrome may have in criminal trials. Three separate papers consider the validity of the battered women's syndrome in criminal cases, expert testimony on battering and its effects in criminal cases, and the impact of evidence concerning battering and its effects in criminal trials involving battered women. Further information on the validity and use of evidence related to battering in criminal trials is appended. Notes and tables
Date Published: May 1, 1996