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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Women who have been battered : their experiences of the criminal justice system Rivkin, Shelley Claire


In 1985, policy initiatives were introduced to support women who have been battered and to impose sanctions on batterers. With this greater emphasis on criminal justice remedies, social workers have an important role in assisting women through the justice system. They need to know, from the women themselves, what their experiences are with the justice system and to have them articulate in their own words the factors that motivated or enhanced their decision to proceed. Eight qualitative interviews were conducted with women whose partners were charged and convicted of assault using an open ended interview format. This exploratory study examines their changed perception of the violence, their experiences with the criminal justice system, and their perceptions of the factors that enabled them to proceed and persist with the process. The findings were organized into four categories: heightened awareness of risk, criminalizing the violence, interaction with the criminal justice system, and surviving the process. Emerging from these four categories were three themes that appeared to link the categories: the violence must be stopped, the importance of a personal connection, and pride in taking a stand.

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