Why a National Clearinghouse?
In recent years there has been increasing awareness of battering and its often tragic results. Nonetheless, battered women who, having responded to life-threatening violence from their abusers, are charged with crimes resulting from this victimization, continue to be vigorously prosecuted by the same criminal justice system that often ignored their pleas for assistance prior to the incident. All too frequently, understanding of a battered woman's victimization is lost as soon as she becomes a defendant in a criminal case.

Studies suggest that as many as eight out of ten battered women charged with killing their abusers are convicted or plead guilty to some charge, and many are sentenced to harsh prison terms.

Coordinated advocacy efforts are necessary to combat the high conviction and incarceration rates of battered women defendants. Defense team members – experts, advocates and defendants – need up-to-date and accurate information to help them develop creative and effective legal strategies that will maximize battered women's opportunities for finding justice.

The National Clearinghouse facilitates necessary collaboration among battered women's advocates, criminal defense attorneys, prison advocates, social scientists and community members so that they can work together with battered women defendants to develop sensitive, effective legal and organizing strategies designed to increase safety and justice for battered women.