This study explored the complex perspectives that battered women hold about the criminal justice system. Q methodology was used to allow participants, through sorting statements on cards, to express similar attitudes about particular issues, while holding different perspectives about the topic as a whole. The results showed that one perspective, Trust, was clearly positive and one factor, Cannot Protect, was clearly negative. However, it was found that the trust factor was dominated by a faith in the people working in the criminal justice system. A combination of ideas in the Disappointment perspective indicated that the women saw the criminal justice system as having great potential but not living up to its potential. The author recommends that criminal justice system personnel avoid thinking about abused women in a dualist manner which can stereotype them as either receptive or unreceptive towards criminal justice system.
Domestic violence; criminal justice system