Domestic Violence and the Law

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
THU 2:00 - 4:50 pm TNH 3.142

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


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 a human rights violation and sexual assault 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 intimate partner violence, then draft proposals for systems change through the social justice lens.


Headshot of Martinez, Laura A. Martinez, Laura A.
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