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Can J Psychiatry. 1995 Apr;40(3):130-5.

Battered woman syndrome defense in Canadian courts.

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University of Toronto, Ontario.


As a result of a 1990 Supreme Court of Canada decision, battered woman syndrome defense is now accepted as a legitimate extension of self-defense in Canadian courts. This defense hinges on the expert testimony that a battered woman who is accused of murder or aggravated assault suffers from the psychological sequelae of abuse and that this psychological distress contributes to her apprehension of danger and ultimately her apprehension of death during a particular battering episode. The authors present a brief overview of the history of battered woman syndrome defense, the role of the expert in assessing the applicability of this defense in any particular situation, and the pitfalls of using battered woman syndrome defense.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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