The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, a nonprofit organization founded in 1987, is a resource and advocacy center for victims of battering charged with crimes related to their battering. Through its work, the organization aims to increase justice for — and prevent further victimization of — arrested, convicted, or incarcerated victims of battering.
The National Clearinghouse works with victims of battering who have been arrested and are facing trial, as well as those who are serving prison sentences. Most frequently, 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. We also assist 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.
National Clearinghouse staff provide customized technical assistance to victims of battering 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 or legal advice to victims of battering charged with crimes. Rather, 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 — outcome.
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 victims of battering 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 defendants and incarcerated victims of battering.
In addition to providing individualized technical assistance, National Clearinghouse staff conduct training seminars for members of the criminal justice and advocacy communities, and for the general public, regarding the unique experiences of battered defendants. Our Resource Library contains a comprehensive collection (over 11,000 entries) of articles, case law, litigation materials, and legislation relevant to victim defendants, victims of battering who find themselves in conflict with the law.