Women at greater risk of gun-related domestic violence

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Women make up the largest number of victims killed, injured or intimidated with firearms at home, according to the latest global Small Arms Survey.

Data from 111 countries shows that about 66,000 women are killed violently each year, with most of the deaths occurring at home and perpetrated by a current or former partner.

The Survey which is published by the Swiss-based Geneva Graduate Institute, finds that gender inequality, tolerance and cultural acceptance of the use of violence against women and common notions of masculinity that embrace firearms possession combine to create a climate that places women at risk of domestic violence involving firearms.

It notes that up to 60 percent of lethal violence occurs with a firearm, with a vast majority of violent deaths as a result of firearms occurring in countries and territories that are not in conflict or post conflict situations.

Ms Anna Alvazzi del Frate is the Research Director for the Small Arms Survey.

"We calculated that approximately 526,000 people die violently every year, but only 10 per cent in conflict settings, as real declared wars and conflicts between states are decreasing steadily since 2004. This indicates that majority of violent deaths occur outside declared wars far from the battle field. Our findings highlight that the risk of intimate partner violence with firearms is higher in countries with high levels of firearms violence in general. And the risk is increased by the presence of guns in the home including work related guns. Although most gun owners are men the majority of victims of domestic violence are females."

The survey says that civilians hold about 75 per cent of the nearly 875 million firearms possessed worldwide, while national armed forces and law enforcement agencies account for less than one-quarter of the global stockpile of small arms.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Radio Geneva.


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