When to call the NCDBW
If, in the course of your work, you come in contact with a battered woman charged with a crime (who might be facing trial or considering a plea, going through a trial, waiting to be sentenced, or whose case is on appeal) or a battered woman who is in jail or prison, please contact the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women.

The National Clearinghouse works with battered women charged with killing their abusers, women who have been coerced into criminal activity, and women who have been charged with a crime as a result of "failing to protect" their children from their batterer's violence and/or abuse.

The staff of the National Clearinghouse, which includes four full-time staff members and other part-time consultants, will work with you to assess the situation and determine how we might be of assistance.

Please contact the National Clearinghouse:

If the battered woman is charged with a crime. Our staff assists the members of a battered woman's defense team - defense attorneys, expert witnesses, battered women's advocates, investigators, and the woman herself - by identifying defense strategies, providing relevant case law and examples of litigation materials, locating expert witnesses when needed/requested, and helping to identify support networks for women who are facing trial or whose cases are on appeal. We work with battered women charged with any crime in which their history of abuse is relevant (or potentially relevant) to their legal defense.

Types of cases. We work on a wide variety of cases, including those involving self-defense/defense of others, coercion and duress, crimes of omission (such as allegedly failing to protect one's children from a batterer's violence), and cases where the history and impact of abuse help to explain a defendant's behavior and/or rebut the mens rea element of the crime.

If the woman is in prison. If the woman has any legal options available, or if she is pursuing a clemency or parole application, we can assist her local counsel and/or advocates. We also correspond with hundreds of incarcerated women nationally.

If you or others in your state are working on a clemency campaign/clemency petitions. We maintain an extensive Resource Library of general information about clemency, as well as information about specific battered women's clemency actions. Our staff can help advocates think through some of the ups and downs of clemency campaigns, and can provide information about other people who have worked on clemency issues in the past.

If your program/organization is currently running, or planning to run, a support group for women in prison. Our staff will provide you with information about other support groups around the country. We can connect you with other group facilitators and give you information about curricula used by some of the groups.

If you or others in your state are thinking about introducing or has introduced legislation that directly impacts battered women charged with crimes. Our staff will help you assess the current situation in your state, help analyze the proposed legislation, and provide information about similar legislation in other states.

If you are doing research on battered women who kill (exploring legal, social, or psychological issues), incarcerated women, or the legal or psycho/social effects of battering on women (sometimes referred to as "battered woman syndrome"). The National Clearinghouse maintains an extensive Resource Library and publishes companion Annotated Bibliographies (by topic area) containing abstracts of the relevant 11,000 cases, articles and litigation materials currently in our Library.

If you have written something you believe should be included in our Resource Library,please send us a copy and we will gladly review it for possible inclusion.

If you have information about battered women charged with crimes, please contact the National Clearinghouse. We count on people like you in the field to keep us up-to-date about activities and developments in your state which affect battered women defendants and incarcerated battered women so that we can pass this information along to others. Please send us newspaper articles, legislative proposals, information/feedback about expert witnesses and defense attorneys, prison support groups for battered women, etc.

We are specifically seeking more information on the following topics:

Battered women charged with assault
Are more battered women in your community being arrested for assault? Are you seeing increased numbers of mutual arrests? Are battered women being sent to “batterers’ programs”? Do you have any articles/musings that might be helpful to advocates grappling with these issues?

Battered women charged with parental kidnapping/child abduction charges
Have you been involved in a case where a battered woman faced criminal charges because she fled from her home with her children?

Post-conviction remedies
Do you have expertise doing post-conviction work at either the state or federal level? We are getting an increasing number of calls and letters from women needing assistance with their post-conviction petitions, especially now that there are such strict (and short) deadlines.

Please contact us if you are working on or have any information on these topic areas.

We look forward to hearing from you.