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5 UCLA Women's L.J. 217 (1994-1995)
A Matter of Evidence or of Law - Battered Women Claiming Self-Defense in California

handle is hein.journals/uclawo5 and id is 225 raw text is: ESSAY
Rachel A. Van Cleave*
Domestic violence is a nationwide concern.' The problem of
domestic violence is of particular concern to women. The statis-
tics overwhelmingly demonstrate that the vast majority of the
victims of domestic violence are women.2 Thirty to fifty percent
of all women murdered are killed by their male partners.3 In an
attempt to alleviate this violence, California has adopted meas-
ures which focus on the behavior of the batterer. For example,
California provides procedures by which victims of domestic vio-
lence can obtain restraining orders against their batterers, as well
as other measures.4 Such measures are extremely important and
* Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Richmond School of Law. B.A.
Stanford University, 1986; J.D. Hastings College of the Law, 1989; J.S.M. Stanford
Law School, 1994. The author thanks Professor Miguel Mendez for insightful com-
ments and suggestions, Roberta K. hyfault for helpful materials and information,
Michael G. Montgomery for excellent research assistance, and Joseph Schottland for
editorial and other support.
1. Violence Against Women Act of 1993, H.R. 1133, 103d Cong., 2d Sess.
(1994) (authorizing federal monies to encourage arrests of batterers, for example).
See also Women and Violence: Hearings Before the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary,
101st Cong., 2d Sess. 110-16 (1990) (testimony of Angela Browne, Ph.D.).
2. See Developments in the Law - Legal Responses to Domestic Violence, 106
HARv. L. REv. 1498, 1501 nn.1-5 (1993).
3. Cal. S.B. 1144, 1993-94 Reg. Sess. § 1(a) (50%); Developments in the Law,
supra note 2, at 1501 n.5 (30%); Nancy Gibbs, '71 Death Do Us Part, TIME, Jan. 18,
1993, at 38, 41 (30-50%).
4. CAL. FAM. CODE §§ 6200 et seq. (West 1994). One important aspect of this
law is that it outlines the imposition of restraining orders against batterers. See CAL.
PENAL CODE § 262 (West 1994) (defining spousal rape); CAI_ PENAL CODE § 602(u)

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