Domestic Violence and the Law

Class Unique: 28200
This course will provide an in-depth examination of the battered women’s movement and its impact on the legal system’s response to domestic violence. We begin with law and the social context of battering, including how the experience of abuse and the response to abuse is shaped by race, cultural identity, economic status, sexual orientation, and disabilities. Criminal law aspects are addressed within the role of protective orders, prosecution, and defense (including self-defense for victims and ethical representation of batterers). We next view how civil family law recognizes domestic violence in custody, divorce, visitation, and child protection matters. Among other topics, the course will examine specialized areas of the law, which include tort liability for batterers and third parties (police, employers, etc.) and federal remedies under the Violence Against Women Act. The class will discuss emerging issues like violence against women as a human rights violation and evolving sexual assault laws to identify the challenges of theory vs. practice. The focus of the class is to examine current gaps and barriers in the legal response to intimate partner violence and propose systemic change through a social justice lens.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Wednesday 10:30 am - 1:00 pm TNH 3.126
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Not Allowed


  • Domestic Violence:Law Policy and Practice - Hon. Diane Kiesel
      Lexis Nexis , edition: 2007
      ISBN: 9780820570525   (required)


Martinson, Erin Davis Martinson, Erin Davis