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Advocates For Male Domestic Violence Victims Move Closer Toward Gender-Neutral Laws

Mike Robinson, a lobbyist in California, says he has multiple Republican sponsors who are willing to draft legislation to amend California’s domestic violence laws so that they refer to “victims” of domestic violence and not just women. This language, he says, has been approved by the Legislative Counsel. He is also looking for a Democratic sponsor.

Also, earlier this year, a group of man who claim they were threatened and battered by their wives appeared in court. In Woods v. California, the four plaintiffs said that they did not receive their constitutionally mandated equal protection when they sought out police safeguards and shelter service as victims of domestic violence.The plaintiffs in the case did not seek any damages. Instead, they intended to force gender-neutral law enforcement services related to the state’s health, penal, and government codes.

Robinson and the plaintiffs in Woods say they are not trying to reduce the services available to battered women, they are merely asking for services for men.

One plaintiff, Ray Blumhorst, says his case began when his wife hit him with a bookstand several years ago. The violent act put him in crutches and left him with a slight, but permanent limp. When police became involved, he was the one who was arrested. He says the reason for his arrest that at 6’1″, 210 pounds and a military veteran, he appeared far more intimidating than his wife, who is average in size. He claims she was initiating the violence between them and using weapons. Blumhorst sought shelter protection but was repeatedly denied service because the shelters only received state funds which served women. He sought services again to prove his point for a case, which was eventually thrown out in 2005 for lack of legal standing to file a lawsuit by the Second District Court of Appeal. He then joined with three other male plaintiffs who say they have had similar experiences and just want equal protection under the law.

· 98% of women’s shelters in California receive state funds.
· Only three shelters in California offer services to men.

Temporary Restraining Orders:
A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a legal decree issued by the court to stop domestic violence. It may mandate that a perpetrator stay away from one’s home, place of work, and other places that a victim regularly goes to. The violent acts must have taken place within the 30 days prior to filing for the order, and the batterer must be a husband, wife, ex-spouse, domestic partner, ex-partner, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, an immediate family member, someone who the victim has dated, or someone who the victim has children with.

Sagaria Law, P.C. represents family law clients, both men and women, who wish to file a temporary restraining order again someone who has committed an act of domestic violence against them. We also represent clients in child custody, child support, divorce, adoption, grandparent visitation, and other family law matters. Our firm has offices in San Jose, Fremont, and Monterey, and we have clients throughout Monterey County, Alameda County, Sacramento County, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley. Contact Sagaria Law, P.C. today.

Advocates push gender-neutral domestic-violence laws, Capitol Weekly, February 1, 2007
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