Domestic Violence and the Law

Class Unique: 29015
Given the frequency with which domestic violence victims turn to the courts for help, this course will examine the construction of rights within civil and criminal law, including those involving alternative procedural frameworks. We begin with law and the social context of battering, including how the experience of abuse is shaped by race, cultural identity, economic status, sexual orientation, and disabilities. We next view how the law recognizes domestic violence in relation to child custody, divorce, visitation, and the child protection matters. Among other topics, the course will also cover tort liability for batterers and third parties (police, employers, etc.), and federal remedies, such as the Violence Against Women Act. Criminal law aspects are addressed within the role of protective orders, prosecution, and defense (including self-defense for victims and ethical representation of batterers). Violence against women as human rights violation and the relevance of immigration law are introduced, with discussions designed to bridge theory and practice. The focus of the class is to examine current challenges and shortcomings in the legal response to domestic violence, then draft proposals for systems change through the social justice lens. This three-credit course requires a paper in lieu of an exam. NOTE: This course does NOT satisfy the writing seminar requirement.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Thursday 2:00 - 4:30 pm TNH 2.123
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room

Additional Information

Course Type


Buel, Sarah M Buel, Sarah M