Battered Women Syndrome is a psychological theory propounded by Dr. Lenore Walker that explains why battered women who are compelled to kill their partners continued to stay in the relationship in the first place. While focusing on the evolution of the Battered Women Syndrome in other countries, especially United Kingdom; this paper studies the interpretation of the corresponding ‘Nallathangal Syndrome’ as applied in the Indian context. However, the legal recognition of the Battered Women Syndrome is at its nascent stage in India. While a lot is written in India about the shortcomings of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 there is little or no focus on battered women who retaliate. Even the official statistics relating to crimes in India do not account for it. The only available legal framework for them is the gendered Indian Penal Code and the defences available therein. This paper explores the defences available to battered women compelled to cause the death of their partners in self-preservation. It will study the essentials of self-defence, provocation and diminished responsibility/insanity to explain how battered women are excluded from the criminal justice system. It will also study the application of the Battered Women Syndrome theory within the existing essentials of the abovementioned defences. It will conclude with suitable policies to keep in mind while dealing with battered women to bridge the gap between the criminal justice system and battered women.

Custom Citation

Keerthana Medarametla, 'Battered Women: The Gendered Notion of Defences Available' (2017) 13(2) Socio-Legal Review 108

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