Battered Woman Syndrome (SFB) usually translates into the fact that the victim focuses all her energy to prevent a new attack by her husband. Thus, with time, the woman develops an apathy, which undermines her self-esteem and reduces her capacity for judgment.
In jurisprudence, the Battered Woman Syndrome is usually invoked as defense by women who have killed their abusive husband. However, it is not considered a self-defense by the criminal law. Indeed, it is much more of an item of evidence or interpretation that could lead to the use of means of defense, and thus to be the legitimate self-defense by the article 34 of the Criminal Code. In addition, you should not believe that every woman that is a victim of domestic violence might appeal to this syndrome, as a woman victim of domestic violence can kill in situations other than self-defense.
This syndrome is admitted in court since 1990, to establish the state of mind of the women abused in time of the murder of her husband.
During a trial, an expert shall present the psychological state of the victim of physical violence so that the Court can understand the mental state of the accused at the time of the murder. The expert also has to let understand why women so treated has not left her husband. This evidence is paramount since it opens the use of self-defense by bringing a modulation of the concept of the reasonable to the situation of the accused. It explains, for example, the reasons for which the accused apprehend death or serious bodily injury because she believed that she could protect herself only through the force that she had used.
Battered Woman Syndrome comes in fact to change the notion of self-defense by interpreting it taking into account the perception that battered woman has towards her situation especially at the level of the notion of what is reasonable and that of immediate danger.
The judicial treatment of domestic violence is a good indicator of a society values. Thus, a British law in force in the last century alleviated the criteria for correction of husbands indicating that the diameter of the stick with which they hit their wives should not exceed the size of a thumb.
According to a study of Sylvie Frigon, Professor at the school of Criminology at the University of Ottawa, the history of legislation for women who have murdered their spouses from the 18th to the 20th century shows greater severity against them as criminals. Considered by the judges as a depraved woman, the killer has not only killed, but more broke her roles of wife and mother, unacceptable resistance to male authority.
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