Battered Woman Syndrome Case Study

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1. Introduction Reddi refers to the “Battered woman syndrome” as a cycle of psychological and behavioral symptoms that commonly stem from an abusive and hostile relationship that a woman finds herself in. Recognition has been awarded to this syndrome in various jurisdictions including Canada and the United States. The battered woman syndrome also refers to when the woman who has already been subjected to abuse stays in that abusive relationship often forgiving her abuser. This syndrome is often as a result of a cycle of violence as Walker describes. This essay will plan to determine whether the battered woman syndrome can be used as a defence in the South African law and to what extent it can be relied on to determine criminal liability in relation to a charge of murder against an abused woman. 2. Possible Defences The battered woman’s…show more content…
Engelbrecht was subjected to into account when determining whether or not the abusive behavior of the deceased was an imminent threat to the accused. The majority judgment, however, stated that the accused’s conduct did not meet the standards of a reasonable person in her situation and that her conduct could not be justified on the grounds of private defence. It is, therefore, clear from the reasoning above that the battered woman syndrome was considered by the court but was not defining factor in determining the criminal liability of the accused. A strict standard was still upheld. Various factors are still taken into account above and beyond the fact that the accused was a battered woman. Examples of these factors include; the proportionality and reasonableness of her defensive conduct, her attempts to leave the abusive relationship and seek help and whether her conduct was planned and whether there were grounds for her actions in the first place. The court determines this in examining the cyclical nature of the abuse within the home

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