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Women Re-Victimised By Current Law


"A review of battered woman's syndrome and its application in
New Zealand law is way overdue" says Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Chief
Executive of the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges.

"A woman, who has experienced violence that most of us find
difficult to fathom, kills or injures her abuser and then is
sentenced to life imprisonment. Effectively, she is being re-
victimised. She may be separated from her children, perhaps even
loose custody of them, she'll loose her job, her home and her

Women's Refuge supports Judith Albert-Kerr's calls for changes in
the law to accommodate the circumstances of victims of family

"The current legal situation does not adequately take into
account the environment that leads to women killing their abusive

Raukawa-Tait also says that Battered Woman's Syndrome needs

"How we represent victims' realities in court needs to be
addressed. `Battered Woman's Syndrome' is very problematic. It's
medicalised and requires women to fit certain criteria. If they
don't fit the bill, then they are disqualified, or severely
disadvantaged, from introducing their experiences of violence in
their defense."

The National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges welcomes
the move by the Law Commission to prompt debate about the issue and
will be presenting a submission on the discussion paper.

"Each year Women's Refuge assists 17 000 women and their
children. We've been doing this for 27 years, so we're in an
excellent position to be able to comment".




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