The mission of the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women is to secure justice for victims of battering charged with crimes related to their battering and prevent further victimization of such people who have been arrested, convicted, or incarcerated.
Why a National Clearinghouse?
Recent years have seen an increasing awareness of battering and its often tragic results. Nonetheless, victims of battering, who, having responded to life-threatening violence from their abusers, are charged with crimes resulting from this victimization, continue to be vigorously prosecuted by the same criminal justice system that often ignored their pleas for assistance prior to the incident. All too frequently, understanding that those who have been battered are also victims is lost as soon as they become defendants in criminal cases.
Studies suggest that as many as eight out of ten victims of battering charged with killing their abusers are convicted or plead guilty to some charge, and many are sentenced to harsh prison terms.
Coordinated advocacy efforts are necessary to combat the high conviction and incarceration rates of defendants who are themselves victims of battering. Defense team members — experts, advocates and defendants — need up-to-date and accurate information to help them develop creative and effective legal strategies that will maximize the opportunities for victims of battering to find justice.
The National Clearinghouse facilitates necessary collaboration among advocates for victims of battering, criminal defense attorneys, prison advocates, social scientists, and community members so that they can work together with battered defendants to develop sensitive, effective legal and organizing strategies designed to increase safety and justice for victims of battering.