Battered women who kill their abusers: An examination of commonsense notions, cognitions, and judgments

Matthew T. Huss, Alan J. Tomkins, Calvin P. Garbin, Robert F. Schopp, Allen Kilian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


It has been argued that battered women who kill their abusers represent a special class of defendants being unfairly treated in the legal system. As a result, commentators have argued for reforms to permit the judicial system to respond more fairly. Researchers have investigated the influences of these prescribed legal modifications and the possible influence of various demographic and psychological factors on legal reforms. However, social scientists have not yet asked some fundamental, psychological questions. Is the law consistent with what society believes is right and just? Is there a commonsense notion of justice in these cases? What factors constitute cognitive decision rules and influence judgments in cases of battered women who kill their abusers? This study uses a basic, psychological method to identify psychological factors that are important in judgments regarding battered women who kill and to better understand commonsense notions of justice in these cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1080
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Battered women
  • Battered women who kill
  • Jury decision making
  • Multidimensional scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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