Heather Tonsing


The focus of this Note is the upcoming development of a new tort cause of action which would afford battered women full recovery and also help alleviate a growing public health epidemic. This Note argues that battered women syndrome is a valid psychological theory which has a place in civil litigation as a recognized cause of action. Although the theory is criticized by feminist scholars who believe that the testimony may perpetuate gender bias in criminal trials, the syndrome is still advantageous for women seeking redress in civil courts. Part I examines the phenomenon of battered women syndrome and its effects on the health of women subjected to domestic abuse. Part II discusses the various uses of battered women syndrome in criminal trials. Specifically, this section focuses on issues surrounding the use of expert testimony on battered women syndrome to support self-defense and duress defenses. Part III explores traditional tort causes of action currently available to victims of domestic abuse. It argues that these actions are inadequate because women are denied full recovery for all of their injuries. Part IV urges recognition of battered women syndrome as a new tort cause of action. This new tort would allow women suffering from battered women syndrome to receive full compensation from their batterers for injuries occurring during the entire course of the abusive relationship. Part V demonstrates how tort litigation is a necessary tool to help solve this growing public health problem.

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Torts Commons