Battered Woman Syndrome As A Theoretical Explanation Of Domestic Violence Effects Free Writing Sample


Battered Woman Syndrome is an inductive theory that seeks to explain the reactions of women when they are subjected to domestic violence. This theoretical approach seeks to sympathize with women who have been victims of domestic violence. In social context, several women have been exonerated from legal liabilities as a result of expert testimonies on Battered Woman Syndrome.

Battered Women Who Harm- Inductive Theory

The fight against domestic violence has several dimensions. The most radical progress in the fight against domestic violence came in 1994 when the Violence Against Women Act became law. According to this legislation, resolving domestic disputes is not a prerogative of the legal department alone but it also involves “the medical and health community, social service agencies, community leaders, and the private sector” (Ross, 2007).

Consequently, domestic violence has been updated to encompass its effects on the victims, community, children, and families. Through the spirit of combating domestic violence, the connection between inductive theory and criminal prosecution of victims was established. The Battered Woman Syndrome has always been applied in criminal prosecution processes to address the plight of the women who retaliate to instances of abuse (Schuller & Rzepa, 2002).

The Battered Woman Syndrome is an inductive theory that was constructed after expert observations were made on behaviors of abused women. This paper explores how the Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) is applied during criminal proceedings in favor of abused women.

There are several stakeholders when it comes to issues of BWS including the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the State Justice Institute, and the National Association of Women Judges. The social and legal fraternities concur that “battering has both medical and psychological effects” (Faigman, 2006). Consequently, evidence relating to BWS has been presented in a number of criminal trials that involve domestic violence.

Nevertheless, it is apparent that research on BWS has not yet been exhausted. Consequently, social policy stakeholders recognize that there is need for additional research on BWS. For instance, “the term “battered woman syndrome” does not adequately reflect the breadth or nature of the scientific knowledge that is now available concerning battering and its effects” (McCauley, Kern & Derogatis, 2005). The inclusion of the word ‘syndrome’ in the description of this theory implies that there is a ‘disease’ involved in the manifestation of the BWS.

BWS cannot be used as a summary explanation for the actions of women who have been subjected to domestic violence. Therefore, “expert testimonies in cases that involve BWS should be used to support a battered woman’s claim of self-defense or duress and not to replace it” (Terrance & Matheson, 2003).

Expert testimonies on the role of BWS in criminal cases against victims of domestic abuse have been used to exonerate suspects. In addition, research indicates that there is ‘scientific evidence and criminal knowledge’ that can validate the premise of BWS. Repeated cases of domestic abuse often lead to reactions that are closely related to traumatic stress.

During criminal-prosecution proceedings, expert witnesses on BWS have been admitted in courtrooms across the country to shed light on the sociological implications of this phenomenon. Overall, the expert testimonies that are offered during criminal prosecutions serve as pointers of the effects of domestic violence.

The information that is contained in expert testimonies also assists “fact finders in their deliberations, and dispels common myths that may interfere with their ability to consider fairly the issues of the case” (Terrance & Matheson, 2003). All the social stakeholders of domestic violence will continue to use and enrich the validity of BWS as a theoretical explanation of its effects.


Faigman, D. L. (2006). The battered woman syndrome and self-defense: A legal and empirical dissent. Virginia Law Review, 2(1), 619-647.

McCauley, J., Kern, D. E. & Derogatis, L. R. (2005). The “battering syndrome”: prevalence and clinical characteristics of domestic violence in primary care internal medicine practices. Annals of internal medicine, 123(10), 737-746.

Ross, L. (2007). The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortions in the attribution process. Advances in experimental social psychology, 10(1), 173-220.

Schuller, R. A. & Rzepa, S. (2002). Expert testimony pertaining to battered woman syndrome: Its impact on jurors’ decisions. Law and Human Behavior, 26(6), 655.

Terrance, C., & Matheson, K. (2003). Undermining reasonableness: Expert testimony in a case involving a battered woman who kills. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 27(1), 37-45.

Using Animals In Medical Experiments


This paper explores how the principles of the character-based ethical approach can be applied to the discussion of using animals in the medical research as well as in laboratory experiments. The specific type of the character-based ethical approach that is applied to the topic in the paper is constructive Christian proposal offered by Donna Yarri. Constructive Christian proposal is only one type among many forms of character-based ethics, but this particular approach needs to be applied to the topic of the research.

The reason is that this ethical theory helps to understand that because animals’ physical, mental, and sensitive characteristics are comparable to human ones, animals have the same moral rights as humans. Therefore, the paper aims to provide not only application of the theory to the study but also strengths and weaknesses in discussing animals in medical research from the perspective of this particular type of character-based ethics.

Ethics of Using Animals in Medical Research and Experiments

A highly debatable issue of ethics of using animals in medical research and experiments can be viewed from different ethical points. One of the important ethical perspectives is the character-based approach.

This perspective is connected with the idea that “humans have no right to exploit other animals irrespective of possible benefits to humans” because animals should have the same rights as humans (Foëx, 2007, p. 750). Donna Yarri offered a constructive Christian proposal by which we as humans must respect moral rights of animals because animals’ physical, mental, and sensitive characteristics are comparable to human ones.

Constructive Christian proposal is based on the idea that “no morally relevant distinction can be found between all humans as a species and all animals as a class” (Kao, 2006, p. 535). Therefore, this character-based ethical theory is directly related to the problem of animals in medical research because it states that humans should not “perform experimentation on animals whose cognitive capacities are equal to or greater than that of marginal humans if we are not willing to so use marginal humans” (Yarri, 2005, p. 52).

However, Yarri (2005) suggests “pragmatic way to distinguish among the kind of experiments that would be permissible from those that would not be” (p. x). Thus, constructive Christian proposal is aimed to restrict animal experimentation while still allowing some.

Yarri’s constructive Christian proposal is a strong ethical theory because it explains the Christian traditions that presume “a more positive assessment of animal” (Kao, 2006, p. 536). On one hand, Yarri offers to use “pet” modal to distinguish between permissible and not permissible use of animals in medical research and experiments. Thus, if people agree that the experiment can be conducted using their pets as experimental subjects, the experiment is permissible.

Moreover, Yarri suggests putting subjects of experiments for pet adoption after it ends. Furthermore, Yarri claims that humans should “stop ontologizing animals into one of two categories: those we use (and thereby exploit or abuse) and those we love (and accordingly cherish and protect)” (Kao, 2006, p. 536).

As stated by Yarri (2005), according to Christian tradition “before the Fall, all of creation appeared to peacefully coexisted and had a vegetarian diet” (p. 109). Moreover, it is scientifically proved that “animal existence predates human existence”, so “we have to be careful about assuming or asserting that animals exist only or primarily for human use” (Yarri, 2005, p. 115).

Hence, putting human above animals is ethically wrong, and if humans can sacrifice their beloved pets for the medical experiment like God sacrificed his Son, this kind of medical research is considered to be ethical.

While applying constructive Christian approach to the research, it is important to pay attention to some weaknesses of the theory. According Yarri (2005), we should put ourselves on the place of a creature to be experimented upon and examine whether we “would be willing to allow such treatment to be accorded to selves, if it would result in a comparable level of suffering” (105).

At the same time, Yarri present pet owners to decide whether it is ethical or not to conduct medical experiments with their pets. Thus, it is still a decision made by the owner, not by the subject of the experiment. Hence, Yarri uses Christian ethical principle of love to all people and sacrifice for the people and at the same time pragmatic way of use of animals in medical experiments and researches.

It is possible to state that constructive Christian proposal developed by Donna Yarri is one more important approach to value the morality of the choice between ethical and not ethical medical experiments involving animals. The character-based ethical claim that “if the acquisition of “pure knowledge” is considered adequate justification for the infliction of pain, the scientists may be hard pressed to explain why human beings should be exempted” (Bowd, 1980, p. 225).

Constructive Christian proposal by Donna Yarri explains that humans should understand that animals’ physical, mental, and sensitive characteristics are comparable to human ones. Hence sacrifice of animals in case of medical experiments should be merited with the same ethical standards as sacrifice of humans.


Bowd, A. D. (1980). Ethics and animal experimentation. American Psychologist, 35(2), 224-225.

Foëx, B. A. (2007). The ethics of animal experimentation. Emergency Medicine Journal, 24(11), 750-758.

Kao, G. Y. (2006). The ethics of animal experimentation: A critical analysis and constructive Christian proposal. Political Theology, 7(4), 535-537.

Yarri, D. (2005). Ethics of animal experimentation: A critical analysis and constructive Christian proposal. Cary, NC: Oxford University Press.

Needs Of Individuals With Disability


No one chooses to be disabled, and there is no one that cannot develop some form of disability regardless of age. Therefore, the debate about resources given to disability should not be reclaimed. Disability is that point in one life when their normal daily processes are interfered; disability can be temporary or permanent. But, regardless of the duration, disability requires special structures that ensure that disabled people continue to live normal lives as everyone else.

The last two decades have been characterized by great improvements within the socioeconomic context among individuals living with disability. However, all these improvements are under threat of diminishing because of recent suggestions that the disability policy should be re-evaluated to minimize welfare benefits given to individuals with disability (Morris 2011). This paper aims to understand the current situation of individuals with disability, and the various ways through which their needs are met.

Understanding Disability

Whereas the concepts of illness, disability and behaviour are interrelated, they are very different. Illness is a medical condition that disrupts normal body processes. Behaviour is an individual’s way of doing things. Disability is a holistic term that includes “impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions” (World Health Organization 2015). Impairment affects the body function or body structure while activity limitation entails inability to perform a task and participation restriction is inability to interact with other people in a social context.

Therefore, disability affects more than one’s health. Disability is not an illness, but some illnesses are deemed a disability, for example, schizophrenia. Behaviour is used to check for red flags, such as, aberrant behaviour, which is an indicator of disability. It is this behaviour that led to the death of Baby P. Unfortunately, the social service agency was not able to detect this disturbing behaviour in those taking care of him.

Models of Disability

There are two models of disability:


Adopted from Verbrugge and Jette (1994)

The medical model

According to Verbrugge and Jette (1994), different medical factors, for example, medications and biological body processes, trigger and manage the disablement process.

The medical model indicates that disability is individualized (Carson 2009). For example, a person’s inability to see, walk or hear is considered his/her disability. This model is also referred to as the personal tragedy model because no one wishes for an impaired body shape. This model dictates that disabled people as being incapable of leading a normal life; thus, they need intervention.

The social model

The social model highlights the facet of society to describe the position of disability. The social model emphasizes the essence of social factors to trigger and manage disability. According to this model, disabled people oppose the negative perceptions held by people that are attributed to the medical model. The social model highlights the effect of anti-discrimination groups and Act that represented the needs of disabled people.

The medical and social models differ greatly; whereas the medical model deems individuals with disability as incapable of engaging in societal activities, the social model is the converse.


According to the WHO (2015), Disabled people have the same health needs as normal people (not disabled). The perceptions of disability are different from one community to another, and the manner in which they have evolved over time in the different communities is different. Gradually, disability has been accepted in the contemporary communities, but this is not pegged on the communities’ financial resources or technical expertise (Munyi 2012).

It is important to note that past perceptions of disability still influence the current ones, to some extent. In some communities, disability is still considered a calamity and the people with disability are looked down upon, especially in third world countries (Munyi 2012). Often, children with disability are seen as a burden and are accorded less care.

The common perception of disability across the various communities is the fact that persons with disabilities are labelled “deviants rather than inmates by the society” (Munyi 2012). Munyi indicates that disability is burdening because disabled people have an array of needs that range from spiritual needs to individualized needs (2012).

Influence of Law, Policy, Society and Culture

Prior to the 2012 Paralympics in London, the topic of disability was not one that people would easily joke about, but after the games, people saw a different dimension of disability they never knew existed (Bournemouth 2011). Technology has been used over the years to create automated wheelchairs to facilitate movement without the help of an assistant.

The current developments in support services for disabled people reinforce inclusion of disabled people in social and environmental activities led by non-disabled people. Organizations such as the Centres for Independent Living voices out the grievances of disabled people and such organizations help individuals with disability to lobby for change and disability-friendly policies.

Today, disabled people take part in global forums, something that did not happen in the past. In a world that reinforces policies and Acts that protect the rights of humanity, disabled people should be protected and policies developed in their interest should not be degraded.

People with disability have protested against the hostility and discrimination towards them that has existed for many years. As a result, different countries have different acts that aim at protecting the people with disability. In the UK, for example, there is the Equality Act. This Act aims at harmonizing all the anti-discrimination laws for individuals with disability to form one act.

According to the Government Equalities Office (2010), this Act influences the treatment given to individuals with disability by protecting individuals against the perception that they are disabled. It is true that individuals with disability are limited in different capacities, but they are not disabled because there have been individuals with disabilities holding high-profile office positions.

The agency handling Baby P’s case did not utilize the law to influence treatment given to the Baby due to lack of commitment and incompetency. The law, which is meant to protect individuals with special needs are seen to victimize them. Baby P’s mother can be considered unstable; hence, instead of being convicted, she required a support service to restore her identity. According to the case study, the threshold to solicit for application of the law was not achieved.


Despite the fact that individuals with disabilities have restrictions on various dimensions due to their nature, they have the same needs as those of normal individuals. The needs outlined by Bradshaw for a normal population, also prevail for individuals with disability. Bradshaw outlined four types of social needs: normative, felt, and comparative and expressed needs. Normative needs are different for different individuals with disabilities based on the disability.

For example, a person with mobility impairment has a different normative need from an individual with visual impairment; the person with mobility impairment may require a wheelchair to aid in movement while the person with visual impairment requires Braille typewriters and Braille literature.

Expressed needs are those needs of disabled individuals that are evident to society, for example, a person with dysfunctional lower limbs and not able to walk requires a wheelchair in the same way a teacher will reiterate information for students with cognitive impairment to follow (National Organization on Disability 2005).

Felt needs emerge from an individual’s perception and knowledge. The obvious felt need for all disabled people is to be accepted in society.

As a result of the negative perceptions towards disabled people that are still evident in how normal people treat disabled people, it is no wonder that there have been forums and conferences where disabled people have raised their voices, demanding for respect and equal treatment. Comparative need is very imperative in the case of individuals with disabilities because it helps to detect impairment early enough; thereby, plan for effective intervention like in the case of autism or cerebral palsy (Public Health Action Support Team 2011).

Difference in needs assessment stems from the objective of the assessment and individuals’ backgrounds. Individuals with visual impairment have different needs from those of individuals with hearing impairment; thus, assessment processes and results are entirely different. This has an implication on care delivery because it calls for a dynamic model for use when caring for individuals with disabilities.

In reference to Baby P in the case study, it is just a matter of negligence and abandonment of duties that led to the Baby’s death. In addition, the health care never carried out the needs assessment appropriately, and the institution being a social service, lack of adequate resources to meet the needs of the high number of caseloads might be a probable cause for the poor care given to Baby P (National Association of Social Workers 2011).

The social services agency that attended to Baby P was not competent enough because they were not able to incorporate all the requirements needed to build a case in court. In addition, the doctor attending to Baby P under the jurisdiction of the social agency failed to detect some vital physical elements that showed abuse.

The social agency failed to get to the root cause of abuse against Baby P. Baby P’s mother might have had a disability of some sort; but the social agency handling Baby P’s case failed to help the carer regain her senses and take up Baby P’s responsibility.

Attempts to meet the needs of individuals with disability, and especially children, prompted the development of the green paper in 2010. This paper aims at promoting equality, and in the case of children with special needs, it emphasizes the need for extra support services (Gillie 2010).

Children with special needs, for example, in the education sector needs a holistic approach when receiving care; thus, involvement of the family is believed to have a positive outcome. The Amy’s House is among the several organizations in Sheffield that aim at harbouring children between the ages 5 and 18 with special needs. The organization ensures that the children are in a safe environment that promotes growth and learning.

The care given to these children is free of any bias because the carers are taught about effective ways of meeting the needs of these children. The organization offers individualized care to the children so that quality services prevail. The care given at Amy’s House ensures that all the needs of the special needs are addressed, and in this case, it is difficult to overlook any dimension of the children’s needs (Amy’s House 2015).

Children with disability have diverse needs that affect their ability to learn, while the quality of life of adults is affected by disability. It is possible to avoid the long-term effects of disability through the right interventions. The needs of children with disability outlined above require different interventions to encompass their education, and social and health lives.

These interventions have evolved over time as demands from human rights activists strive to ensure that all people, regardless of their disability and social orientation, are given equal opportunities to access resources and live a normal life. Nonetheless, special rights for disabled people are developed as a tool to always remind normal people that these individuals should not be considered a liability.

These special needs are varied, and include antisocial behaviour, dyslexia, poor comprehension of things, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and physical impairment.

Support Individuals with Special Needs

The formation of support groups is beneficial to parents having children with various special needs, and especially for first time parents. Support groups help the different parents to exchange experiences and learn how to overcome challenges as they emerge.

Some conditions, for example, Down’s syndrome require special skills and these support groups will help parents exchange ideas on how to effectively address the needs of such children. Support groups serve the function for which they are named: to give members the morale by encouraging each other through sharing personal experiences.

SENCO is regarded as an ideal point of support for children with special educational needs (Children with special educational needs 2015). This support framework is systematic in the sense that different children based on their ages receive different kinds of support.

According to the SENCO support system, children under the age of five years are monitored for both social development and health status. Provisions, for example, tactile signs, are made to aid children with disability (Children with special educational needs 2015). Children between 5 and 15 years

Different health conditions associated with disability require different health-related interventions. Medications can be administered to such individuals, but they are not deemed safe and effective. Children with special health needs have access to a specialist health visitor, who is supposed to empower families on how they can deal with health challenges of children with special health needs, for example, Down’s syndrome.

The emotional health of children with special needs is mainly affected because they are often segregated. Children with special needs face rejection from their peers, who still do not understand the concept of special needs. As a result, these special children are lonely, and their nature aggravates the negative perception they hold against their peers leading to adverse emotional consequences. Health care providers and teachers have the responsibility of ensuring that normal children develop a positive reception towards special needs children.

Different social programmes are available, and through this programmes children and individuals with disability receive aid. In addition, the different policies available ensure that institutions and society respect and protect these people instead of disregarding them (Children with special educational needs 2015). However, there is need for continued efforts to reinforce these policies because disparity in treatment between disabled and normal people stills exists.

Early intervention support services for autistic children have had a positive impact on their development. Early intervention helps the carers of these children to learn about the different ways of dealing with children of special needs early enough so as to create a favourable atmosphere that fosters improved interaction with the external environment (Goode, Diefendorf & Colgan 2011).

The different educational, social and health care interventions offered to individuals with special needs are very effective in promoting positive living and improving the quality of life of these individuals. Educational approaches enhance learning by creating a safe and friendly environment.

Normal children gain information that translates into a positive attitude towards their fellow students with disabilities, and they unite to learn together. In addition, these approaches enable students to keep up with the pace of learning of the normal students because teachers use strategies targeting the special needs students. The early intervention service prevents locking out children in need of social programmes.

Challenging Behaviour

Challenging behaviour is bizarre behaviour that individuals with disability portray. Several terms are used to replace this behaviour, for example, abnormal behaviour or disturbed behaviour (Burton 2001). Challenging behaviour presents a huge challenge for individuals taking care of the disabled people.

Challenging behaviour includes behaviours like self-injurious behaviour or antisocial behaviour. Individuals with disability engage in challenging behaviour as a way of communicating. Different concepts are used to explain this behaviour:

Pre-scientific Principles

A current series, the Dome, applies the principle of pre-scientific principle to explain its theme of challenging behaviour. Burton 2001 indicates that a person’s soul, stars or bodily characteristics influence a person’s behaviour. Pre-scientific concepts mainly involve the spiritual world and stereotypes that explain phenomenon.

Social Construction

The meaning and understanding associated with challenging behaviour, to some extent, stems from socially constructed traits. These traits include cultural norms and values that influence a person’s ability to understand this behaviour. Culture shapes individuals’ identity, perceptions and attitudes. Hence, the challenging behaviour will be considered to be that which deviates from what the culture deems normal.


This principle dictates that challenging behaviour is attributed to some disabling conditions or some biological factors, not associated with the disabling condition. Burton (2011) indicates the example of epilepsy as a disabling condition that can or cannot have an underlying biological factor, for example, poor supply of oxygen in the brain.

It is very difficult to help an individual with challenging behaviour because this behaviour always interferes with the intervention process.

Various strategies can be adopted to enable individuals with challenging behaviour adopt better means of expressing their opinions and emotions. Therefore, teaching them new skills of communication is paramount. For example, these people can be asked to run as much as they want if they are angry as a way of expending the negative energy.

Individuals portraying challenging behaviour should be given prompt treatment because inability to deal with pain may result in problematic behaviour. Carers need to liaise with experts of challenging behaviour among individuals with disabilities so that they are able to decipher the causative factors (Social Care Institute for Excellence 2011).


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Burton, M 2001, Understanding and responding to behavioural challenges: An investigative approach. Manchester Learning Disability Partnership, Manchester.

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Social Care Institute for Excellence 2011, At a glance 37: challenging behaviour: a guide for family carers on getting the right support for adults.

Verbrugge, L & Jette, A 1994, The disablement process’, Social science & medicine, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 1-14.

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