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Public Papers - 1992

Statement on Signing the Battered Women's Testimony Act of 1992


Today I am signing into law H.R. 1252, the ``Battered Women's Testimony Act of 1992.''

Each year, more than 3 million women are the victims of domestic violence. Of these, between 3,000 and 4,000 are murdered by a spouse or domestic partner. Many of these attacks are witnessed by children.

Some victims of domestic violence are driven to retaliate and even kill their abusive spouses. In some cases these victims may raise as a legal defense ``battered woman's syndrome.'' This syndrome, which some experts believe is brought on by repeated physical, mental, or sexual attacks by a spouse or partner, may help to explain or extenuate these retaliatory attacks. Expert testimony regarding the nature and effect of ``battered woman's syndrome'' is not universally accepted by all the States.

H.R. 1252 addresses the problems associated with the defense of ``battered woman's syndrome'' in two ways. First, it authorizes a study on the admissibility of expert testimony on the experiences of battered women in the defense of criminal cases under State law. Second, the bill directs the development and dissemination of training materials to assist battered women and their attorneys and advocates in using expert testimony in appropriate cases.

I am pleased to approve this legislation and to commend its sponsor and cosponsors for taking this important step in combatting violence against women.

George Bush

The White House,

October 27, 1992.

Note: H.R. 1252, approved October 27, was assigned Public Law No. 102 - 527.

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