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The Battered Woman
Battered women make up what is one of the most marginalized groups in society. Their relationship experiences sometimes bring these women into conflict with the law, especially when they kill their abusive partners. Battered woman syndrome was developed in the 1970's by a clinical psychologist and was created to describe the cycle of events that abused women often go through in their relationships. In Canadian law it is recognized in the context of other defenses, bringing battered women syndrome into the courtroom involves the use of well-prepared proof. It has become obvious in the past that women have been treated in a stereotypical way by the Canadian courts. Their circumstances and needs were not fully taken into account. Before changes in the law in 1990, there was a gendered construction of the self-defense doctrine that evaluated females against a male standard of reasonableness. This problem was intended to be put to the end with the Supreme Court decision in R.v. Lavallee. With all these changes, especially Lavallee, the justice system was working to become more considerate to the specific experiences of women who had been victimized. However, the question is, how are battered women in particular treated by the criminal system today? …
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