Michal Buchhandler-Raphael

Widener University Commonwealth Law School, Harrisburg, PA

Michal Buchhandler-Raphael is an Associate Professor of Law at Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, PA. She teaches Criminal Law and Procedure, Family Law, and Evidence. Her scholarship explores the intersection of criminal and family law, focusing on gender-based violence, including sexual violence and intimate partner violence. She investigates reforms to the legal system’s treatment of domestic abuse survivors who are implicated in the criminal legal system as both perpetrators and victims. In a recent project, Michal examines the growing evidence suggesting that many domestic violence survivors suffer from mild, repeated traumatic brain injuries. She addresses the evidentiary challenges these survivors face regarding their credibility when testifying at trial. Due to symptoms such as memory loss, survivors’ testimonies are often discredited. This project aims to educate decision-makers, including prosecutors, judges, and juries, about the effects of traumatic brain injuries on survivors’ testimonies. In another project, Michal critiques the role of police in responding to some domestic violence calls. Advocating for reduced reliance on the police, she explores alternatives to policing by deploying non-police responders to provide emergency services in domestic disputes. Trained in delivering trauma-informed services, civilian responders are better suited to address the needs of domestic abuse survivors.

Presentation: Traumatic Brain Injury in Intimate Partner Violence Victims-Turned-Offenders