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PTSD, Emotional Damages, Criminal Behavior, and other specialties 

Psychology Expert Witness Services

Depend on Dr. Heller for expert witness services in New York, NY. He has extensive knowledge of domestic violence psychology, Battered Women Syndrome, and many related issues.

Battered Woman Syndrome

Dr. Charles Heller has specialized knowledge and is considered an expert in all forms of domestic violence. He provides expert witness testimony and consultation to attorneys in the analysis of intimate partner violence in civil, criminal, and family court cases.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most current way to describe the abuse of women in various kinds of relationships. The concept of IPV evolved from the concept of Battered Women Syndrome (BWS). Both pertain to domestic abuse or relationship abuse. IPV and BWS are ways to describe a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. As illustrated below, the Power and Control Wheel describes what occurs in an abusive relationship (Domestic Abuse Intervention Project).


By reviewing the different sectors of the Power and Control Wheel, Dr. Heller can address specific abuse characteristics of any relationship to illustrate how the perpetrator uses power, coercion, as well as physical and mental abuse to control the victim of intimate partner violence.


Dr. Heller has the experience and training necessary to perform a 'Danger Assessment,' which assesses the level of risk and lethality potential in an abusive relationship (Campbell et al. 2009). He received his 'Danger Assessment' certification from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in the use of the 'Danger Assessment' and the 'Levels of Danger Scoring System' to evaluate the level of danger in domestic violence cases.


Dr. Heller helps a judge or jury understand the original term Battered Women Syndrome (Walker, 1979), as well as other expanded descriptions or explanations of intimate partner violence. BWS is not a clinical diagnosis and provides a somewhat stereotypical and pathology-focused emphasis when describing women who are battered. The field of domestic violence has evolved. Today, it tends to take the emphasis away from the syndrome-based model, which does not take into consideration deviations manifested in the complex behavior of battered women or the variations in the original cyclical theory described by Walker. The broader concept of IPV addresses and includes cultural, social, and clinically diagnosable PTSD symptoms frequently observed in battered women. The terms BWS and IPV both facilitate comprehension of the victim's history of abuse and fear. Both concepts assert that being abused can result in the battered woman killing her abusive partner. Additionally, both concepts assert that a battered woman is likely to commit another kind of crime due to coercion and control perpetrated by the abuser.

In sum, intimate partner violence is a different way to describe domestic violence compared to Battered Women Syndrome, which does not take into account some of the complex variables observed in domestic violence situations. However, courts accept the term Battered Woman Syndrome due to its general acceptance in the field of psychology. It is not surprising that the American Psychological Association filed an amicus brief in a murder trial because Lenore Walker was not allowed to testify about BWS. The issue was whether expert testimony on Battered Women Syndrome is admissible to help establish claims of self-defense in a murder case. In the amicus brief, APA described the research utilized in BWS and supported the use of testimony about BWS. Through the years, BWS has achieved general acceptance scientifically and practically within the psychology field, and courts have ruled it admissible at trial.


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Manhattan Office (Mailing Address)

Two Park Avenue, 20th Floor

New York, NY 10016


New Jersey Office (Alternate Mailing Address)

140 East Ridgewood Avenue, South Tower, Suite 415

Paramus, NJ 07652


Westchester County Office (Not for Mail Service)

520 White Plains Road, Suite 500

Tarrytown, NY 10591


Service Area

New York, New Jersey, and Nationally 



(332) 333-5925

(845) 354-0535 — Offices in Orange & Rockland Counties

Disclaimer: Our services are for attorneys only. Dr. Heller does not reply or give advice directly to consumers, litigants, or students. Ask your attorney to contact us directly. If this is a mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.