Skip to main content
Unpublished Paper
Women Made Whole: How Tort Law Can Change the Lives of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims
ExpressO (2015)
  • Sara L Crewson
Tort law and insurance companies are failing to provide female domestic violence victims with adequate access to civil courts, proper legal mechanisms with which to gain that access, and are far behind the times when compared to other gender-linked crimes like those of rape and sexual assault. The Restatement of Torts (Third) has classified domestic violence as an intentional tort, and most insurance policies will not provide coverage for harms that were committed intentionally. Certain homeowners' insurance policies won't provide coverage if a spouse tries to sue another spouse for harms committed, leaving vulnerable wives unable to seek compensation for their injuries. Adding to the problem is the issue of statutes of limitations, which provide unreasonably short periods of time for victims to come forward given the already dangerous position they find themselves in. With this paper I intend to show how the current Restatement's handling of intentional torts is virtually the same as it was a hundred years ago, a time when wife-beating was condoned and legal. I will also demonstrate where tort law is empowering, compensating, and aiding sexual assault victims while putting up barriers to recovery for domestic violence victims. Using those comparisons as a model for future progress, I conclude by offering what I believe are simple solutions that could radically change the lives of countless women and transform tort law into a vehicle for justice for these women. When surveyed, 92% of women said that sexual assault and domestic violence were their top concerns, and as we lose more and more women to intimate partner violence, the time for this type of change within the judicial system is now.
  • Women,
  • Torts,
  • Civil Litigation,
  • Sexual Assault,
  • Domestic Violence,
  • Intentional Torts
Publication Date
March 19, 2015
Citation Information
Sara L Crewson. "Women Made Whole: How Tort Law Can Change the Lives of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims" ExpressO (2015)
Available at: