Battered woman syndrome is a "psychological and behavioral pattern displayed by female victims of domestic violence" according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Since the concept was first introduce in the 1970s many theories have been developed in an effort to explain why women continue to return to violent abusers. One way of understanding the pattern of domestic abuse is the cycle of violence.
First signed into law in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been credited with helping reduce domestic violence by two-thirds. VAWA is a federal law aimed at ending violence against women. On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed a bill reauthorizing VAWA for another five years. The reauthorization gives $659 million a year over five years for VAWA programs intended to help end violence against women. The bill also expanded protection for domestic violence victims.
Exchanging children between parents can be one of the most stressful parts of co-parenting for numerous reasons. Many times victims of domestic abuse fear coming into contact with their ex as they exchange children for visitation purposes. Fortunately, places such as Children's Safe Harbor, in Rockford, IL exist to provide a neutral place for families to use when exchanging children for parenting time or visitation. The mission of Children's Safe Harbor "is to help facilitate a child's need and right to share a relationship with both of his/her parents."
As many of our readers have heard, through watching or reading the news, the Jodi Arias trial has our country buzzing with talk about one of the most brutal and controversial murders reported in 2013. According to news reports, Arias killed her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, by stabbing him in the abdomen and back 27 times, slitting his throat from ear to ear, and shooting him in the head. Throughout the course of the trial, psychology experts have been brought in to provide their expert opinion regarding the motives and reasoning behind Arias' bizarre actions. Among the many disturbing parts of this case include Arias' claim that she was a victim of domestic violence during her relationship with Alexander, and her murder was simply an act of self-defense. While the jury decides on the legitimacy of her claim, it is important for us to be aware of what qualifies as domestic violence, and how to leave an abusive relationship. The following describes the criteria used by Illinois law in determining domestic violence: