The Contra Costa Times has an article on domestic violence against men. Thanks to Janet Langjahr's FlaDivorceLawBlog, for reporting on this. Janet was also kind enough to give me a couple of tips for linking and better describing other family law blogs, which we put in place this weekend.
There are many women who act violently (32% of arrests are of women, as we learned in the AAML/LBA seminar last month). DVO petitions filed by men are about 25% of the total. But, contrary to the article posted by Janet, other studies show 90-95% of victims of domestic violence are female. Men are generally more physically strong or are able to control with the pretense of strength. The context of the relationship must be examined. The essence of domestic violence is the use of power and control.
However, because it is certainly true that many men are victims of domestic violence, services offered should be gender neutral.
Our laws enjoining domestic violence and abuse are designed to prevent further acts of violence, which tend to escalate. No attorney wants a dead client and no judge wants a dead litigant who could have been protected. We all need to assess factors influencing lethality:
Severity of abuse
Patterns of control (Isolation, creating severe economic dependency, stalking and spying)
Suicidal threats (If you leave me, I'll kill myself) are highly indicative
Threats of homicide
Loss of job
Separation is the biggest factor
Destruction of property and Violence against pets also are relevant