Women’s Network Launches Campaign to Stop Gun Violence in the Home
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 2:15 PM

A new network of over 800 non-governmental organizations and societies in 28 countries has launched a campaign to end gun violence in the home through the creation of more stringent gun control legislation that would prohibit people with a history of domestic violence from owning a firearm.  The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA Women’s Network), headquartered in London, U.K., will work in partnership with local organizations to raise public awareness about domestic violence and gun violence, to promote women’s rights and women’s involvement in gun-related legislation, and to advocate for peaceful resolutions of conflicts and a worldwide decrease in military spending.

Removing firearms from the home can dramatically reduce the harm done during family conflicts.  Studies have found that when guns are involved in a domestic violence attack, the risk of death increases 12 times, and having a gun in the home triples a woman’s chance of being murdered.  Guns can also be used as a tool for intimidation and psychological abuse and to facilitate rape.  IANSA Women’s Network hopes that through more stringent gun control laws, countries can reduce the number of incidents of domestic violence as well as the severity of the harm suffered by women.  Countries like Canada and Australia have been able to reduce both the rates of gun violence and the murder rate for women significantly after toughening up their gun control legislation. 

In addition to strengthening gun control legislation, domestic violence legislation may include prohibitions against perpetrators of domestic violence from purchasing or possessing a firearm when it poses a threat to the victim. In fact, such a prohibition is included in the 1996 United Nations recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women for legislation on domestic violence. In 2008, an Expert Group organized by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women recommended that prohibiting the purchase of a firearm be included in protection orders for victims of domestic violence. 

The Disarm Domestic Violence Campaign was launched on 15-21 June, the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence.  Events across the globe were held to mark the start of the campaign, including a candlelight vigil and meeting with Senator Christina Perceval on the creation of a new bill on armed domestic violence in Argentina, a radio interview and panel discussion with members of parliament in Namibia, and a parade of bicyclists spreading domestic violence literature in Nepal.

Compiled from: “New Women’s Network Seeks to End Gun Violence in the Home,” News Bulletin 186, AdvocacyNet (18 June 2009); “Disarming Domestic Violence campaign,” International Action Network on Small Arms (8 June 2009); “The Disarm Domestic Violence Campaign Launches Worldwide,” International Action Network on Small Arms; “Good Practices in Legislation on Violence Against Women,” United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2008); “Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences: A framework for model legislation on domestic violence,” Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/1996/53/Add.2 (2 Feb 1996).