Many of our readers have experienced the problem of false allegations of abuse in the context of divorce and custody proceedings. Today in West Virginia a significant decision was released in the case of Men and Women Against Discrimination (MAWAD) versus The Family Protection Services Board of West Virginia. The findings of fact and conclusions of law contained within Judge Stucky's decision declared several rules of the West Virginia Family Protection Services Board null and void, stating the rules directly conflict with the express intent of West Virginia's legislature that domestic violence programs be administered in a gender neutral fashion while further finding the rules had a chilling effect on MAWAD members free speech right.
Read Judge Stucky's entire decision here. Several of the findings and conclusions include:
19. West Virginia Code 48-26-404 mandates the Board to propose rules for programs of intervention for perpetrators of domestic violence...
20. In response to this legislative mandate the Board adopted Rule 191-3-3....
21. The promulgation of this rule forms the basis for the Board's official position that perpetrator intervention programs should actually be and, in fact are, administered as "batterers" intervention programs with the fundamental premise that only men can be batterers and therefore only men are appropriate candidates for participation in perpetrator intervention programs.
22. The Legislature has expressed a clear intention to provide licensure and funding of perpetrator intervention programs that are gender-neutral; the Board, acting on its own, has ignored this intent and created a gender specific program that includes only men and excludes all women.
From the conclusions:
"The legislature has expressed a clear intention to provide for licensure and funding of perpetrator intervention programs that are gender-neutral. The Board, acting on its own, has morphed this intent into a gender specific program that includes only men and excludes all women...This rule conflicts with the clear intent of the legislature and is void."
Let us know what you think of this decision by responding here. We'll post these responses over the next several days.
Domestic violence groups are one of the primary impediments to getting shared parenting enacted. They actively lobby against two parent involvement around the nation. Help educate your legislators about this problem and ask them to investigate DV programs in your state to see if similar situations are occurring. Take a copy of this decision and circulate it to your state and federal legislators. Find your legislators by clicking here. Include a reference to Dr. Stephen Baskerville's report on Family Violence in America. Also send them a link to the resources of RADAR.
You haven't heard from us for awhile, but we're still leading the way in substantive reform and you'll be hearing much more shortly. By the way, did you receive your most recent copy of The Liberator? More on Alec Baldwin and his efforts for the movement soon.
Congratulations again to Men and Women Against Discrimination. We all appreciate you. Here are links to some of their great spots on DV and Shared Parenting.
Stay tuned, and help us keep the lights on and the efforts for shared parenting ongoing by making a donation.
ACFC Exec. Dir.