For Defense Attorneys
National Clearinghouse consultation services are free of charge. Located in Philadelphia, PA, the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women works on criminal cases throughout the United States.
How the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women assists defense teams
The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women (NCDBW) provides free information and case-specific technical assistance to defense attorneys and other members of legal teams who are defending victims of battering charged with crimes. More specifically, they work on cases that have a legal relationship between the crimes with which the defendant is charged and the defendant’s experiences of being abused.
The National Clearinghouse does not provide direct representation. Rather, their legal team consults directly with defense attorneys, expert witnesses, battered women’s advocates, investigators, and defendants themselves. They assist defense teams at any and all stages of the criminal legal process, identifying defense strategies, providing relevant case law and sample litigation materials, locating skilled expert witnesses if needed, and helping to identify support networks for victims of abuse who are facing trial or going through the appeals process.
Types of cases
The National Clearinghouse works on a wide range of cases. Most frequently, they assist in cases where battered women who have defended themselves and/or their children against their batterer’s violence have been charged with assault or homicide. The National Clearinghouse also works on cases in which victims of battering have been coerced into criminal activity; charged with a crime for allegedly "failing to protect" their children from their batterer's violence; or charged with parental kidnapping or custodial interference for fleeing to protect themselves and/or their children.
History of abuse and expert witnesses on battering and its effects (sometimes called “battered women’s syndrome”)
Many people charged with crimes have experienced, or are currently experiencing, abuse by their intimate partners, but raising a defendant’s experiences of abuse in court is not always useful, advisable, and/or permissible. The extensive and specific expertise of the National Clearinghouse can help you consider possible defense strategies, and weigh the pros and cons of using the defendant’s experiences of abuse to support your legal theory.
The National Clearinghouse can also help you strategize about how to present the defendant’s experiences of abuse to the court, whether it is through expert testimony, lay witness testimony, or both. And if you do decide to use an expert witness on battering and its effects, they can assist you in finding the right expert for your specific case, and work with you about how to use their services to best advantage.