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NCJ Number: 91765 Find in a Library
Title: Battered Wives, Lawyers, and District Attorneys - An Examination of Law in Action
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:11  Issue:5  Dated:(1983)  Pages:403-412
Author(s): L H Bowker
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The legal services received by 146 Milwaukee women who had been beaten by their husbands, but had been free of the violence for at least a year, are described and evaluated.
Abstract: Of these women, 106 received legal help in connection with at least one battering incident. Some women saw more than one member of the legal profession, so the total number of legal contacts among the 106 women was 255. There is evidence that lawyers and district attorneys were most likely to be used by those battered women for whom the use of personal strategies and informal help sources (such as family and friends) were ineffective in combatting the violence. Contrary to the negative image of lawyers and district attorneys found in the literature on wife beating, most legal service contacts were rated as very or fairly successful by the battered women. The more difficult and severe the situation, the higher the success rating given to lawyers and district attorneys by their clients. Despite the generally positive reactions that most beaten women had to lawyers and district attorneys, there were many negative incidents reported, including district attorneys who refused service or discouraged battered women from filing charges, and lawyers who sided with the aggressors or attempted to meet their personal and professional needs at the expense of their clients. These incidents remind us that it would be useful to educate professionals about the nature of family violence, the situation and needs of battered women, and the legal and ethical responsibilities that lawyers and district attorneys have when they are contacted by battered women. (Author abstract)
Index Term(s): Attorneys; Battered wives; Wisconsin
Note: Originally presented in a sesion of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law at the Tenth World Congress of Sociology, International Sociological Association, Mexico City, August 1982
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