Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Sociology, Criminology and Penology.


Senn, Charlene,




In the last five years a number of studies have been conducted that have given abused women voice in the discussion about whether or not the criminal justice system (CJS) can be helpful to them. These studies have used a variety of methods and examined different questions, but they have not considered how women's views of separate parts of the CJS come together in their perspectives about the system as a whole. The purpose of this study was to better understand battered women's views about the criminal justice system (CJS), and how those views are integrated into complex perspectives for individual women. Q methodology was used. Fifty-eight abused and formally abused women were recruited to represent a broad range of experiences and perspectives. They sorted 72 statements about domestic violence and the CJS on a large template that ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Principal component analysis with varimax rotation was performed and the resulting factors were analysed for meaning. A small number of women who represented each factor were interviewed to aid in this interpretation. Five perspectives were identified representing divergent views of the CJS: (1) Trust in the CJS; (2) Disappointment in the CJS; (3) Victims should have input into the CJS and be sure they want to use it; (4) The CJS cannot protect women and can make matters worse; and (5) The CJS should be used for her safety, for his rehabilitation, and for justice despite its problems. The perspectives that emerged are new in their complexity and in their substance. Overall, the emergence of multiple perspectives as opposed to one polarized perspective has theoretical, methodological, and applied implications for research and practice. The description of each of the perspectives expressed by the women in this study may also be useful in advising other women who hold similar perspectives.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .B37. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-07, Section: B, page: 3770. Adviser: Charlene Senn. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.