Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department




Faculty Mentor Department


Faculty Mentor

Julie Olomi


Student Perceptions, Intimate Partner Violence, Legal Abuse, Domestic Violence, Law School Curriculum

Subject Categories

Family Law | Law and Psychology | Psychology


Legal abuse is a form of abuse when an intimate partner uses the court system to further coerce and control their victim. When survivors attempt to keep themselves and their children safe by leaving their abusive partner by using the criminal-legal system, they may be at risk of further abuse, such as legal abuse. More and more research has shown that legal abuse can have severe consequences for survivors such as losing custody of their children, mental health issues like PTSD and depression, costly court cases over the years, and having to stay in contact with their abuser for the sake of their children, which can be distressing, difficult, and increase their risk of dealing with further abusive tactics. However, evidence suggests that authority figures in the courtroom like judges, attorneys, and child custody evaluators may not be aware that legal abuse is taking place, which can put the survivor and their children in more danger. There is substantial research indicating that survivors of intimate partner violence have reported feeling disappointed, discouraged, and even betrayed by the criminal legal system. In fact, some scholars have begun talking about "judicial betrayal" to describe the issue of when judges fail to prevent such harms and/or add to the violence. Thus, and given the severity of legal abuse, education of legal providers about IPV dynamics is very important. While research around legal abuse and its impact has increased over the last few years, there has been limited work examining legal providers' knowledge and perceptions of legal abuse specifically. This research project seeks to address this gap by exploring law students' exposure to legal abuse educational content during their education and their perceptions of and comfort level in handling IPV cases.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




© Copyright 2023 Kylie K. Mckittrick and Julie Olomi