Sacramento, CA–Recently we discussed a tremendous victory, as the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento ruled in Woods. v. Shewry that California”s exclusion of men from domestic violence services violates men”s constitutional equal protection rights.
Marc Angelucci, Esq. was the lead attorney in the case, and the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center (led by legislative advocate Michael Robinson and John Hamel, LCSW) penned a powerful amicus brief in support. The brief was co-authored by some of the world’s leading experts on domestic violence.
Robinson identified the case’s lead plaintiff, David Woods, a disabled Sacramento-area veteran who, along with his daughter, was the victim of his wife’s domestic violence.
I will be publishing several excerpts from the amicus brief in coming weeks. In one section on DV services, the authors write:
When men are denied services, their children are denied services. Currently, only one or two shelters out of nearly 2,000 in the United States offer beds to male victims and their children. Outreach efforts from established domestic violence organizations target exclusively females, as evidenced by the almost total absence of male victims in video, film, radio and print media. Thus, under current policy abused men are both denied services and told, essentially, that they don”t even exist.
Ignoring male victims is not only a human rights issue, but also a public health issue. Until all perpetrators of family violence are held accountable for their actions, regardless of gender, our efforts will be limited, with serious implications for future generations.
(To read Woods’ powerful story, see my co-authored column Domestic Violence Lawsuit Will Help Secure Services for All Abuse Victims, Los Angeles Daily Journal, San Francisco Daily Journal, 12/28/05, as well as Woods’ daughter’s heart wrenching letter about her childhood here.)