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NCJ Number: 186689 Find in a Library
Title: Self-Defence and Domestic Violence: A Reply to Bradfield
Journal: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law  Volume:6  Issue:1  Dated:1999  Pages:51-66
Author(s): Gail Hubble
Date Published: 1999
Page Count: 16
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This article challenges the argument in an article by Rebecca Bradfield which maintains that Australia's laws of self-defense are failing women who commit homicide in the context of domestic violence.
Abstract: The Bradfield article, "Is Near Enough Good Enough? Why Isn't Self-Defence Appropriate for the Battered Woman?", was published in "Psychiatry, Psychology and Law" (1998), Volume 5, page 71. In this article Bradfield notes that self-defense is infrequently used as a defense in cases in which a battered woman kills her abuser. Provocation is the defense most often used in such cases. Bradfield criticizes this trend on the grounds that such women are usually acting to preserve either their own or their children's lives. She argues that the doctrine of self-defense has been "remarkably resilient" to the injustice faced by battered women charged with homicide. Bradfield wants greater recognition of the circumstances in which women justifiably act in preservation of life. The current article acknowledges that Bradfield's article is an important contribution to the ongoing debate in this area of law; however, it fails to address the more difficult issues associated with the limits of self-defense and underestimates the difficulty that the law faces in delivering the appropriate legal outcome when battered women kill their abusers. In some cases, a manslaughter conviction is an understandable outcome, given the uncertainties that surround a claim of defensive force in such a setting. 35 notes
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Defense; Family homicide; Female offenders; Justifiable homicide; Self defense
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