Do Men Really Have Equal Protection Under The Law? 


Men and Domestic Violence

California law provides equal protection for those of any gender or gender identification when it comes to domestic abuse.  However, it took a court decision to ensure that those who suffered from domestic violence were treated equally by centers and shelters designated as helping only women.

Resources for Domestic Violence

The State of California offers a number of different resources for those who suffer abuse from domestic partners.  Many of these resources include aid in the form of providing shelter, concealing the victim from the abuser, putting the victim in touch with social services and obtaining medical care for those who are suffering from injuries or ill health associated with abuse.

However, until recently, California allowed some domestic violence prevention or treatment providers to differentiate their services.  Some shelters, for example, were allowed to be open only to women and could legally refuse to take men into their systems.  When a group of attorneys finally decided to challenge this long-standing precedent, the law was eventually changed.  Today, no one can be denied services related to domestic violence, no matter what his or her gender or gender identification.

The Truth About Domestic Violence

While women are undoubtedly the majority of the victims of domestic violence, studies have shown that a growing number of victims are men.  In fact, one report states that it is possible that more than a third of domestic abuse victims are male.

Despite the fact that one out of three domestic violence victims may be male, it was not until the case of Woods v. Shewry was filed that the discrimination against male victims ended.  The California Court of Appeals in 2008 ruled that the “gender classifications” in the Penal Code and the Health and Safety Code violated equal protection clauses in state law.  Therefore, it became illegal for any group that offers domestic violence services to women to refuse them to men.

What Does This Mean For Me?

It is often difficult for men to admit that they are victims of domestic violence.  Men may not know about resources available to help them.  A family law attorney such as those at Men’s Legal Center in San Diego may be able to provide assistance to a man who is suffering from physical, emotional or mental abuse.  Call today for a consultation and learn how we can help.


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