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  • Groups Call on Department of Justice to Tell the Truth About Partner Abuse
  • By Mark Rosenthal
  • Hawaii Reporter
  • 02/10/2007 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 59 articles in 2007 )
WASHINGTON D.C. - Congress directed the Department of Justice in 2000 to ensure that all victims of domestic violence -- female and male -- receive services under the Violence Against Women Act. But seven years later, DoJ-funded programs continue discriminate against victims on the basis of sex, according to RADAR and 75 other organizations around the country.

The 75 organizations, members of the VAWA Reform Coalition, include women's groups, children's rights organizations, and shared parenting advocates.

"As a professional counselor, I have seen far too many cases where men were turned away by DoJ-funded programs that had been funded to serve all victims of partner abuse," according to RADAR spokesperson Elizabeth Crawford. "Our organizations will not rest until male domestic violence victims are treated with the same dignity and respect given to female victims."

Sex-based discrimination against male victims can be traced back to one-sided information provided by the Department of Justice itself. One CDC survey found that dating violence among teenagers is evenly divided between the sexes. The Department of Justice Web site on teen dating violence repeatedly refers to "female victims," but makes no mention of males. One DoJ press release highlights dating violence against teenage girls, but again excludes mention of boys.

The DoJ says its Family Justice Centers are dedicated to "eradicating violence against women," but makes no mention of eradicating violence against men. The DoJ urges men to "take the pledge" to stop partner violence, but excludes women from that opportunity. Last year the DoJ sponsored a survey of 600 women, but no men, to gauge their attitudes about domestic violence.

The Department of Justice awards funds to organizations to train judges, prosecutors, and police officers, but the information provided often distorts well-established research findings on the frequency of male victimization. As a result, the even-handed administration of justice is compromised, many believe.

A recent Centers for Disease Control report concluded that 71 percent of the initiators of nonreciprocal partner violence are women. Over one-third of persons injured by domestic violence are male.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month, observed every year in October, is designed to educate the public about the need to keep families and homes safe from partner abuse.


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