The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, a nonprofit organization founded in 1987, is a resource and advocacy center for battered women charged with crimes related to their experience of being battered. Through its work, the organization aims to increase justice for — and prevent further victimization of — arrested, convicted, or incarcerated battered women.
The National Clearinghouse works with battered women who have been arrested and are facing trial, as well as those who are serving prison sentences. Most frequently, these cases involve women who have defended themselves against life-threatening violence at the hands of their abuser, and have been charged with assault or homicide. We also assist in cases where women have been coerced into crime by their abuser, are charged with "failing to protect" their children from their abuser's violence, or are charged with “parental kidnapping” after fleeing to protect themselves or their children from their abuser.
National Clearinghouse staff provide customized technical assistance to battered women charged with crimes and to members of their defense teams (defense attorneys, advocates, expert witnesses and others).
The National Clearinghouse does not provide direct representation to battered women charged with crimes. Rather, staff provides information and resources to defense teams at any stage of the legal process (pre-trial, when the case is on appeal, and in limited circumstances, during post-conviction proceedings) in an effort to increase the likelihood of a better – and more just – outcome.
In addition to providing individualized technical assistance, National Clearinghouse staff conduct training seminars for members of the criminal justice and advocacy communities, and for the general public, regarding the unique experiences of battered women defendants.