Disarm Domestic Violence

The first international campaign to protect women from gun violence in the home.

Perhaps most shockingly, the greatest risk of gun violence to women around the world is not on the streets, or the battlefield, but in their own homes. Women are three times more likely to die violently if there is a gun in the house. Usually the perpetrator is a spouse or partner, often with a prior record of domestic abuse. Gun violence can be part of the cycle of intimidation and aggression that many women experience from an intimate partner. For every woman killed or physically injured by firearms, many more are threatened. This is why IANSA has launched a campaign to demand policies which would keep women safe from gun violence.

Campaign Aims and Objectives
The main goal is to ensure that anyone with a history of domestic abuse is denied access to a firearm, and has their license revoked.

Campaign news and views


16 Days of Activism 2013 - armed domestic violence - campaign focus
The IANSA Women's Network has contributed to the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence Campaign 2013 on the topic of domestic violence and the role of small arms.


Norway:"I will shoot you before noon"
An article, recently published Dag Bladet, one of Norway’s biggest daily newspapers, tells the story of Karin Bergsjø (56) who in 2001 was threatened with a gun by her long term partner in their home.

Pakistan: Disarm Domestic Violence - survey results
These are the results of a snapshot study conducted in districts of South Punjab including Multan, Muzafargarh, Rajanpur and DG Khan by IANSA members at Awaz Foundation Pakistan: Centre for Development Services.

IANSA women finalists in Avon Communications Awards
We are delighted to share the news that the IANSA Women’s Network was a finalist in the first-ever Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women for our work on the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign.

Israel: Gun Free Kitchen Tables - Activity Report 2011
This activity report from the Gun Free Kitchen Tables (GFKT) project highlights progress and the tangible momentum achieved in 2011 to demand enforcement of an existing Israeli law restricting security guards’ authorisation to bear arms, to the guards' worksites only.

Canada: New report shows police rely on long-gun registry
In 2011, the Conservative government, with its majority, won a vote in the House of Commons to dismantle and destroy the long-gun registry but it has not yet moved to push the Bill through the final stages in the Senate. If they do, seven million long-gun firearm records will be destroyed. IANSA women in Canada continue to advocate to save the registry.

UK: Call for change - armed domestic violence
In the UK, as in many other countries around the world, armed domestic violence is a hidden killer. The Disarm Domestic Violence campaign continues to highlight cases and share recommendations to help make women safer in their homes. Although British newspapers focus on street crime with guns, the majority of women murdered with guns in the country are killed in domestic violence incidents, usually with a gun that was owned legally.

Costa Rica: New regulations can help prevent armed domestic violence
In news announced on 13 January 2012, under new regulations being immediately introduced, anyone with prior criminal convictions for domestic violence or other violent or drug-related crimes will be not be allowed to own firearms. As we know, this is a crucial step towards prevention of armed domestic violence and making women safer in their homes and communities.


USA: Criminals finding it easy to get gun rights reinstated
This article by the New York Times highlights the incidence of armed domestic violence in the US and reveals the ease with which criminals can retrieve their rights to possess and carry firearms, even with a criminal record and a history of domestic violence.

Switzerland: Brutal killing sparks army gun debate
Politicians, criminologists and police have called for army-issue weapons to be kept out of the hands of lawbreakers after a young man with a criminal record shot and killed his girlfriend.

Guns in the Bahamas: Firearms in Bahamian Homes
The Bahamas is considered to have a high rate of domestic violence and so the association between gun ownership and domestic violence may be a matter of concern if women are to be adequately protected from femicide where gun ownership is an elevating risk factor.

France: Should police officers be banned from keeping their firearms at home?
The article presents acts of armed domestic violence as "family tragedies" and the murder by a young intern of his partner by playing with his gun as a "fatal accident". The article thus lacks analysis and context, as these are not isolated tragedies, but acts of armed domestic violence, phenomena that is more common than the article suggests.

US: Lautenberg Marks 15 Years Of Domestic Violence Gun Ban
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) marked 15 years since legislation he authored was signed into law to prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanours from buying or possessing firearms. Since it was enacted in 1996, the law has succeeded in keeping guns out of the hands of spousal and child abusers on approximately 200,000 occasions.

US: 2010 Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report
The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence has released the annual compilation for 2010 of all the fatal domestic violence incidents in the state. More victims were killed with guns than by all other means combined.

Paraguay: AI activism for a law to help prevent armed domestic violence
IANSA women in Paraguay are campaigning for a comprehensive law to prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women and to include provisions to remove guns from perpetrators in cases of domestic violence.

Australia: Guns returned in domestic violence cases
This article from Australia highlights a worrying trend; that the police force in New South Wales is routinely returning firearms to gun-owning domestic violence offenders.

Landmark decision invites global rethink of state protection against domestic violence
This article explains how in a landmark decision, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has found the United States responsible for human rights violations suffered more than a decade ago by Jessica Lenahan. It makes clear that domestic violence is a human rights violation, and brings this point into the international spotlight. It is our hope that the decision impacts the way people perceive domestic violence.

Sweden: Disarm Domestic Violence conference report
This report contains highlights from the conference held in March 2011 and explores the relationship between small arms and light weapons and violence against women.

USA: Connecticut - new domestic violence law signed
The new law means that domestic violence offenders will have to surrender their firearms to police or sell them to licensed firearm dealers.

USA: Domestic violence law aims to keep firearms away from offenders; advocates call for similar laws around the country
Advocates for tougher domestic violence laws are applauding a New York measure signed into law in August 2011. However, there are concerns that similar measures aren't being adopted in other states.

Disarm Domestic Violence: Resources
One of our campaign goals is to support the advocacy of IANSA women to help us to work together, develop common strategies, strengthen advocacy, and strengthen the capacity of the network and solidarity amongst us. This includes the sharing of strategies and ‘best practice’ in policy development and details of useful resources.

USA: Guns a chief concern in domestic cases
In Connecticut, law officials confirm that when police are called to a domestic violence complaint or a restraining order is issued, weapons are always a chief concern. This article gives some insight into the process and procedures undertaken in such cases.

USA: How many more women have to die in domestic violence?
As the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence gets underway (13-19 June 2011) this opinion piece by Michael Marlier whose sister-in-law was killed on 27 May is a stark reminder about the prevalence of armed domestic violence, not only in the US but around the world.

USA: Illinois Legislature Passes Law Keeping Guns From Domestic Abusers, Restraining Order Violators
By a sweeping majority, the Illinois Senate passed a bill that would permanently revoke the rights of certain offenders to own guns.

UK: Potential change in gun licencing practice - inspired by Canada
This newspaper article highlights progress being made in the UK in relation to armed domestic violence. Although there are some inaccuracies with the description of Canada’s screening process it is a useful outline of the current situation in the UK in relation to the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign.

International: Risks and Benefits of a Gun in the Home
This abstract related to women and domestic violence was written by David Hemenway and published in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF LIFESTYLE MEDICINE on 2 February 2011.

Canada: Support the Long Gun Registry - Support Women’s Safety
An open letter on violence against women and the long gun registry.

Canada: Shelters share statistics
The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters hopes new 2010 data will help the province understand how best to assist women and children fleeing domestic violence. The figures released all come from a single 24-hour period. Thirty-seven women reported they had been threatened by their intimate partner with a gun before seeking help from the shelters.

Canada: Long-gun registry keeps women safe - YWCA
Long guns and rifles are the kind of firearms used most often in domestic violence, according to a local shelter.

USA: Series of bills would protect domestic violence victims
Advocates for domestic violence victims are applauding new measures designed to provide more protection for those who need it most. As WAMC's Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Greg Fry reports, the goal is to keep potential offenders off the streets.

USA: The New York State Senate Acts
Bill S.4244 sponsored by Senator Saland seeks to limit the illegal use of guns by ensuring that information about misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence is provided to the national firearm database that performs background checks.


Olympic Champion charged over threat to wife's life
In December 2010, Olympic marathon gold medallist Samuel Wanjiru was charged with threatening to kill his wife, Tereza Njeri, with an illegal firearm.

Israel: Gun Free Kitchen Tables: The call is out ...
The call is out and it's resounding! Gun Free Kitchen Tables has issued a first public call for no guards' guns in homes, fed by the urgency and outrage of two new after-duty shootings with guards' guns in Israel.

USA: Male vs. female domestic violence
This blog explores various issues around guns and gun violence, including armed domestic violence.

USA: When alleged abuser is a police officer
This case against a Milwaukee police officer highlights how, when it comes to criminal justice, police officers have the advantage of knowing the players and the system. Unlike most people, they have access to guns to do their jobs, and an exception written into state law allows them to keep their weapons in most cases.

The Application of International Law to Systemic Intimate Violence
This article is based on the book 'Domestic Violence and International Law'. The book emanates from the tragic uniformity of domestic violence stories by women around the world. Equally disquieting is the uniformity of the state’s non-response. The remedies that exist in the public world simply fail to permeate into the private sphere to attenuate intimate harm.

Guam: Family violence victims memorialised
In Guam - an island in the western Pacific Ocean and a territory of the United States - nearly half of the victims represented in a recent Silent Witness ceremony were killed by gun violence. In this article, U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco said that nationally, three times as many women are killed by guns used by their husbands or intimate partners than are killed by strangers' guns, knives and weapons combined.

USA: Documentary tells story of armed domestic violence
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) connects advocates who are working to end violence against women and their children. Each year, the month of October is devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national levels, and IANSA members are involved across the country.

Canada: A registry to prevent crime, not domestic violence
On 22 September, Members of parliament in Canada voted 153 to 151 to defeat Bill C-391 that would have ended the country's mandatory registry for rifles and shotguns. This means that Canadians must continue to report ownership of weapons to the firearms registry, ensuring that data remains accessible to law-enforcement authorities.

Canada: Firearms registry saved my life, says domestic violence survivor
At a press conference held on 15 September 2010 in Toronto of victims and survivors of gun violence, Heather Imming stated, “the firearms registry saved my life.” The registry was used to remove guns from her violent, estranged husband.

South Africa: Media monitoring - January-August 2010
As part of the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign, IANSA women from the Ceasefire Campaign in South Africa have undertaken a short-term media monitoring project to continue to highlight the need for better implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) relating to firearms.

USA, Iowa - online seminar on new Firearms Bill 2010 (SF 2357)
The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) recently held two online seminars to explain the enforcement of the new Firearms Bill 2010 (SF 2357) which prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if they are subject to a civil domestic abuse protective order or have been convicted of a misdemeanour crime of domestic violence.

South Africa: Disarm killer cops
In South Africa, the organisation that oversees the police is so concerned about officers who kill their wives and girlfriends with their state-issued guns that it has recommended forcing policemen to leave their weapons at work.

USA: Disarm Domestic Violence update from Iowa
This is a brief update on progress from the state of Iowa in the USA.

Canada: Domestic deaths have a number of common links
Women’s groups from across the country insist that the gun registry is an essential tool in combating violence against women including armed domestic violence.

República Dominicana: Mujeres y armas de fuego en el hogar
El Instituto Caribeño para el Estado de Derecho (ICED) realizó una encuesta que muestra que el 42% de las mujeres víctimas de la violencia doméstica en la República Dominicana han sido amenazados con un arma de fuego.

Portugal: Main findings of “Violence and Small Arms: the Portuguese case” (2008-2010)
IANSA women from the Peace Studies Group (Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra University) and the Observatory on Gender and Armed Violence (OGAV) share their findings from a national survey undertaken between October 2009 and March 2010.

Uganda: Disarm Domestic Violence workshop
On 12 May 2010 during the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence, the Center for Conflict Resolution (CECORE) and East African Subregional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) organised a national workshop on armed domestic violence and the gender dimensions of armed violence.

Malawi: Government urged to review firearms laws
The Centre for Conflict Management and Women Development Affairs (CECOWDA) has urged government to take concrete steps to review and harmonise laws on firearms.

USA: Domestic Violence and Guns Brochure
In March 2010, Oregon's Firearms and Domestic Violence Task Force prepared a brochure 'Steps you can take if you are afraid your partner will use a firearm against you.'

Noya lends her voice to the campaign
Canadian singer Noya has given her song 'No' to the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign to empower other women, children and men who suffer from abuse. She hopes it it will inspire other women to say NO!

USA: Can men who like to beat women get to have guns?
On 3 May 2010, The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, joined by a coalition of national law enforcement and domestic violence groups, filed a “friend of the court” brief today in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit urging the Court not to expand the scope of the Second Amendment to allow domestic violence abusers to possess firearms.

Canada: Politicians are forgetting rural women
Outcry and national poll suggests Canadians and women in particular support gun registry.

Campaign materials now in Swahili and Lingala
Many thanks to IANSA women 'Femmes des Medias pour la Justice au Congo' in the DRC for taking the initiative to translate Disarm Domestic Violence campaign materials into Lingala and Swahili.

Spain: Campaign launch in Lloret de Mar
The Platform per la Pau Lloret in Catalunya are launching the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign on 23 April 2010.

Argentina: The campaign goes to the end of the world
In Ushuia, the southernmost city in the world, more than 90 women community leaders, government officials, journalists and students participated in an event to support the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign on 29 March 2010 organised by the Asociación para Políticas Públicas (APP) and Ushuaia Parliament, with the support of the IANSA Women’s Network.

International: IANSA members use amicus briefs to influence court decisions
This 'amicus brief' by The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence was submitted in a US Supreme Court case in 2008. Such a strategy could be useful for other IANSA members working on the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign in other countries.

USA: An Open Letter to the El Dorado Sheriff’s Department and the El Dorado District Attorney’s Office Regarding Domestic Violence Victim Cecilia Riveria
This open letter highlights how armed domestic violence is a public health epidemic in California and how a new bill AB 962 (DeLeon) could help victims of domestic violence by regulating the sale of handgun ammunition.

Serbia: Small arms and domestic violence: how to avoid lethal consequences?
On 8 March 2010 the Victimology Society of Serbia organised a national roundtable in Belgrade to focus public attention on the use of small arms by perpetrators of domestic violence.

USA: Changing the law was top priority for Attorney General in Iowa
A new law requires that anyone convicted of domestic abuse and anyone who is listed on a no-contact order cannot own or sell guns. It will strengthen a federal firearms ban that is already in effect by giving local law enforcement officials more authority to collect guns.

AP volunteer blasts gun violence against women at UN CSW
A volunteer of the Advocacy Project (AP) has used the setting of a major UN meeting, the Commission on the Status of Women, to denounce the horrific damage caused by gun violence against women and girls within families.

Canada: Just the Facts: Reducing Domestic Homicide
For International Women's Day, The Coalition for Gun Control present the facts on reducing domestic violence. Women’s groups from across the country insist that the firearms law is an essential tool in combating violence against women.

USA: Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence - Call to Back Firearms Bill 2010 (SF 2357)
This legislation is of critical importance to save women’s lives because firearms are the most commonly used method in domestic abuse related murders. According to the Death Review Executive Summary, 63.7% of domestic violence related deaths in 2007-2008 were caused by firearms. The Iowa Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division reports that 108 Iowans have been killed by firearms in domestic violence murders since 1995.


USA: Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Bench Guide

This Guide uses the work of various researchers who have developed lethality and reoffense assessment tools. It contains a list of eleven questions focusing on risk factors, and questions include; "Does alleged perpetrator have access to a firearm?"

Switzerland: Safer without arms
Women in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, raised awareness about the dangers of guns in the home through a street performance during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence on 10 December 2009.

UK: Raising awareness of the dangers of guns in the home
The Infer Trust, a national registered charity raising awareness of the problems associated with gun misuse involving both legally and illegally held guns, is providing advice, support and networking opportunities for those affected by gun violence including armed domestic violence.

Namibia: Deputy Prime Minister calls for stricter controls
The campaign is raising awareness at high levels in Namibia. During a Parliamentary debate on the Draft Defence Policy on 11 February 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila said that the issuing of firearm licences should be stricter, because of reports of women being shot by their boyfriends or husbands.

Colombia: Widespread support in Cali and Bogotá
15,000 signatures in support of the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign were collected in November 2009. Proposals were also put to Congress about regulating the possession of firearms by those with a history of domestic violence.

Argentina: Women account for over 50% of gun deaths
Between 1997 and 2005, women accounted for 58% of homicides and 24.9% of suicides that were committed with firearms.

Malawi: Survey results - 20% of women experienced armed domestic violence
The Centre for Conflict Management and Women Development Affairs (CECOWDA) in conjunction with Peoples Federation for National Peace and Development (PEFENAP) completed a small survey in September 2009.

Campaign highlights from The Advocacy Project, 2009
Summaries from: Argentina: Asociación para Politicas Públicas; Canada: Project Ploughshares; Colombia: Colectivo Mujeres Pazificas; Namibia: Breaking the Wall of Silence; Nepal: SAP Nepal; Portugal: Centre for Peace Studies/Observatory on Gender and Armed Violence; Serbia: Victimology Society of Serbia; and Uganda: The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CECORE).

Disarm Domestic Violence: Key initial findings, October 2009
The results from the first seven countries illustrate why the campaign is so important. They show a worrying pattern, in which guns are routinely used to threaten, intimidate and facilitate violence against women in the home.

USA: Disarm Domestic Violence: A matter of life or death
This briefing on the US context was used during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October 2009) in the USA.

South Africa: Disarm Domestic Violence - Submission to Parliament
In October 2009, IANSA women from Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC) and the Ceasefire Campaign submitted a joint submission to the South African Parliament on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) relating to firearms.

Canada: The situation in Canada
This paper, published in the Autumn 2009 edition of the Ploughshares Monitor, summarises the Canadian context.

Canada: Plea to resist the relaxation of Canada's gun laws
An open letter from The Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) to David J. McGunity, the MP for Ottawa South, to urge him to work to meet international obligations to protect women and children from gun violence by resisting efforts to relax Canada’s gun laws.

Submissions to the UN Commission on the Status of Women
In August 2009 IANSA members from Argentina, Colombia, Namibia and Portugal submitted communications to the UN Commission on the Status of Women to highlight how armed domestic violence fundamentally affects women's human rights.

Argentina: Submission to CEDAW on armed domestic violence
IANSA members Asociación para Políticas Públicas (APP) submitted a list of critical issues in relation to armed domestic violence to the CEDAW Committee to raise with the government of Argentina which was reporting at the 46th CEDAW session, 10-14 August 2009.

Sierra Leone: High level seminar
The Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) held a seminar for Members of Parliament and civil society and called upon the government to harmonise gun and domestic violence laws.

Campaign Bulletin, July 2009
Campaign aims and objectives, and how to get involved.

USA: Bureau of Justice Statistics on Domestic Violence and firearms
The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) indicates that although firearms are used in a relatively small percentage of domestic violence incidents, when a firearm is present, domestic violence can and all too often turns into domestic homicide.

Namibia: Easier to be banned from driving than to be banned from possessing a firearm
Pauline Dempers writes about the global campaign and the system in Namibia.

UN Good practices in legislation on violence against women
This expert report includes a recommendation in relation to protection orders and firearms.

USA: Arming Domestic Abusers
Based on a study of a representative sample of domestic violence protective orders issued in one year in Iowa, researchers estimated that judges failed to enforce federal law prohibiting possession of firearms by domestic violence offenders in approximately 72 percent of the orders (1,800/2,500).

Support from The Advocacy Project
Advocacy Project (AP) Peace Fellows worked with some IANSA members during the summer of 2009 to assist with the campaign. Their blogs make very interesting reading, and be sure to watch some of the short films they produced over the summer.

The Campaign launches worldwide!
The campaign begins during the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence (15-21 June 2009) with over 30 launch events around the world.