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Firearms and Domestic Violence

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Women are affected differently by guns. In many contexts, more women are ... To avoid such complicity, States must demonstrate due diligence by taking active ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Firearms and Domestic Violence


1
Firearms and Domestic Violence
Coalition for Gun Control
2
OVERVIEW
  • The Problem
  • Role of Firearms Legislation
  • Gender, Attitudes, Change
  • Implementation Issues
  • Conclusions and Implications for research and
    policy

3
THE PROBLEM
  • Women are affected differently by guns
  • In many contexts, more women are killed by
    intimate partners than strangers
  • When guns are available they are used in violence
    against women
  • Guns are more lethal more women die
  • A gun in the home is a major risk factor for
    femicide
  • Guns are also used to threaten and subjugate
    women
  • Psychological and other impacts are significant
  • Risks to children and for suicide increase
  • Patterns are trans-national

4
Female Homicide Rates for 25 Populous High-Income
Countries, 1994 to 1999 (per 100,000)
5
Femicide WITH GUNS WITHOUT GUNS TOTAL
GUNS rate rate rate
LOW      
Hong Kong 0.03 0.73 0.76
Sweden 0.04 0.76 0.80
Netherlands 0.14 0.66 0.80
Germany 0.11 0.55 0.66
Spain 0.11 0.38 0.49
MEDIUM      
Australia 0.27 0.87 1.14
Canada 0.29 0.67 0.96
Portugal 0.30 0.31 0.64
HIGH      
Switzerland 0.61 0.72 1.34
United States 1.54 1.67 3.21
6
eg. Canada Understand patterns
  • 85 of women murdered in Canada killed by
    intimate partners versus 15 of men
  • In 1991 1/3 of murders of women by husbands in
    Canada with guns - 88 long guns
  • Most killed in their homes
  • 50 killers committed suicide
  • risk factors alcohol, financial problems,
    marital breakdown, mental illness
  • for every death many are threatened broader
    impacts
  • presence of firearm is a predictor of femicide,
    higher number of victims, murder-suicide
  • three inquests tell the story (Kassonde, May,
    Vernon)

7
Domestic Violence Risk Factors
Separation from spouse 82
Depression 73
History of domestic violence 73
Prior threats to commit suicide or suicide attempts 55
Possession or access to firearms 55
Obsessive behaviour 45
Control of the victims activities 45
Excessive alcohol and/or drug use 45
Attempts to isolate the victim 36
Escalation of violence 36
Destruction of the victims property 27
8
Perpetrator unemployed 27
Prior threats to kill the victim 27
Forced sexual acts or assaults during sex 18
Isolation of victim 18
New partner in victim's life 18
Perpetrator witnessed domestic violence as a child 18
Violence against pets or livestock 18
9
ROLE OF FIREARMS LEGISLATION
  • UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal
    Justice (1998) called on states to recognize the
    relevance of firearm regulation in addressing
    violence against women
  • many countries explicitly target violence against
    women within firearms legislation

10
The Role of Legislation
  • Reduce the probability those who are a risk to
    themselves or others will obtain firearms
  • Reduce diversion of legal guns to illegal markets
    raise barriers and effective prices
  • eg. screening processes for domestic violence,
    spousal notification, safe storage
  • Implementation is key police, physicians,
    educators, shelters

11
Impact of Legislation
  • Reducing access to firearms in the home reduces
    lethality
  • In Great Britain, Australia and Canada, rates of
    women killed with guns dropped more than rates of
    men killed with guns (women more often killed in
    the home)
  • Rates of women killed with other means did not
    drop as dramatically
  • Laws both shape and reflect values strong gun
    control reinforces values of non violence

12
Homicides of women with firearms  1991 1995 2004
Number 85 43 32 -62
Rate per 100,000 0.6 0.29 0.2 -67
Homicides of women without firearms      
Number 185 152 166 -10
Rate per 100,000 1.3 1.02 1.04 -20

13
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14
GENDER, ATTITUDES, CHANGE
  • Freedom from fear? There are significant gender
    splits in attitudes to firearms
  • Canada 36 males, 59 females feared you or
    someone in your household would be threatened or
    injured with a firearm

15
Support for Gun Control LegislationJanuary 2003
46-Firearms ownership
Q.46 The Government of Canada has passed a law
concerning the ownership of firearms. This law
requires that Canadians register each firearm
that they own, prohibits certain kinds of
firearms, requires that owners pass a safety test
and a safety check, and that firearms are stored
unloaded in a secure place. In general, do you
support or oppose this law? Would that be
strongly or somewhat?
16
  • While male dominated societies often justify
    small arms possession through the alleged need to
    protect vulnerable women, women actually face
    greater danger of violence when their families
    and communities are armed
  • - Barbara Frey, UN Special Rapporteur on Human
    Rights

17
Resistance
  • Higher rates of gun ownership AND domestic
    violence in honour cultures
  • Link between attitudes to women, willingness to
    kill, homicide rates, and attitudes to gun
    ownership (McAlister, 2001).
  • Honour cultures have higher rates of gun
    ownership and interpersonal violence (Cohen,
    1996).
  • Men (with guns) will often resist stronger gun
    laws
  • USA forced removal of any reference to regulation
    of civilian possession from the 2001 Program of
    Action on The Illicit Trade of Small Arms in all
    its Aspects
  • Many successful movements have been led by women

18
IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES
  • Laws are only words on paper interpretation and
    application is critical
  • VAW is under-reported
  • Often law enforcement does not prioritize VAW
  • Justice systems trivialize VAW
  • Resources to address VAW are inadequate
  • VAW laws are not always linked to gun laws

19
Courts and Community based Policing
  • Improve implementation of laws and procedures to
    remove guns when there is a threat
  • Improve risk assessment DOES HE HAVE A GUN?
  • Improve community/police relationships to
    prioritize violence against women
  • Training for police, judges, physicians,
    educators
  • Court watch accountability

20
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21
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
  • Women are affected differently by firearms at
    risk from intimate partners, cycle of violence
    etc.
  • When firearms are accessible they are used in
    violence against women (lethality)
  • Current constructions (conflict versus crime
    military versus non) not meaningful
  • Regulation of civilian possession of firearms is
    a critical to a global small arms strategy
  • Gender perspective is critical in addressing root
    causes, conflict and crime, implementation

22
Implications for Research
  • Disaggregate data by gender
  • Rates of murder with and without guns
  • Review femicide case studies to understand risk
    factors
  • Explore male/female attitudes to guns
  • Interviews of abused women (and workers with
    abused women) to understand the role of guns in
    cycle of abuse
  • Explore threats to children in homes with guns
  • Are children also killed with guns in the home?
  • Examine murder/suicide
  • Examine gun culture media discourse, etc.
  • Examine application of laws and justice responses

23
Implications for Policy
  • Strong gun laws linked to domestic violence laws
  • Improve laws and procedures to remove guns when
    there is a threat
  • Improve risk assessment and interventions DOES
    HE HAVE A GUN?
  • Improve community/police relationships to
    prioritize violence against women
  • Training for police, judges, physicians,
    educators
  • Understand link between attitudes to guns and
    violence against women
  • More women in policy and research
  • Analyse results of referendum

24
Human Rights Obligations
  • a State can be held complicit where it
    condones a pattern of abuse through pervasive
    non-action To avoid such complicity, States
    must demonstrate due diligence by taking active
    measures to protect, prosecute and punish private
    actors who commit abuses
  • - Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
    (E/CN.4/1996/53)

25
  • There is no international right to bear arms
    States which fail to implement effect regulation
    of firearms may be failing their obligations
    under international human rights law.
  • "there is also growing pressure to hold States
    accountable for patterns of abuse, such as the
    State's failure to establish reasonable
    regulation regarding the private ownership of
    small arms that are likely to be used in
    homicides, suicides and accidents its failure to
    protect individuals from a pattern of domestic
    violence and its failure to protect individuals
    from organized crimes including kidnapping and
    killing for ransom".
  • - Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Small
    Arms (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/39 5/ 2002)
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