Battered Spouse Syndrome Law and Legal Definition

Battered spouse syndrome is a constellation of medical and psychological conditions of a person, as a result of repeated violence such as beatings, choking, sexual assault, verbal abuse, or a combination of different acts amounting to violence, at the hands of the spouse or partner.

The syndrome is more commonly known as battered woman’s syndrome because, generally, the victims are woman. However, in recent years cases of abused husbands and boyfriends are also reported. This syndrome is often proposed as a defense to justify a woman’s killing of a man.

The following is an example of a state statute (Maryland) defining the term.

Pursuant to Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 10-916, "Battered Spouse Syndrome" means the psychological condition of a victim of repeated physical and psychological abuse by a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, or former cohabitant which is also recognized in the medical and scientific community as the "Battered Woman's Syndrome".