The National Defense Center for Criminalized Survivors, formerly known as the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, addresses the unique needs of victims of gender-based violence who have been criminalized as a result of their experiences of being abused. 

We provide specialized technical assistance, resources, and support for victims and their defense teams. Equally important, we train and build alliances among national, state-wide, and local organizations to improve justice for survivors everywhere.

About Us

Our founding in 1987 was a response to the police, communities, and court systems that were failing to protect survivors of gender-based violence. The Defense Center exists now to secure justice for victims, prevent further victimization, and transform the oppressive policies, practices and systems that criminalize and endanger survivors.

Who We Serve

We’re here to help advocates, defense attorneys, expert witnesses, and others who work with charged or currently incarcerated survivors.


The National Defense Center for Criminalized Survivors provides assistance to survivors charged with crimes, members of their defense teams, and other individuals and organizations through:

  • Technical Assistance
    Our team provides specialized case-specific support, information and resources to defense teams. We also work with community-based advocates to promote and develop defense-based advocacy in their communities, and we correspond directly with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated survivors.
  • Consultations
    We provide policy development-focused consultations with national, local, and state-wide policymakers on issues that impact criminalized survivors.
  • Resource Development
    The Defense Center creates and maintains materials on specific issues related to defense-based advocacy.

Our teams employ highly interactive techniques, all grounded in adult learning principles. We provide customized training for advocates, attorneys, and others on topics such as defense-based advocacy, use of expert witnesses, legal strategies for representing criminalized survivors, and other emerging issues.

Trainings can be conducted on-site, remotely, or through our learning management system, the National GBV Learning Community.