The Disarm Domestic Violence Campaign Launches Worldwide

The campaign was launched during the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence, 15-21 June 2009 with over 30 launch events around the world.

Here are details of some of the launch events to date:

Argentina

Argentine parliamentarian Deputy Luciano Fabris raised awareness about the Week of Action and the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign by introducing a bill, and promoting it on the congress website.

On 16 June, Maria Pia Devoto, Maria Paula Cellone, Althea Middleton-Detzner of Asociación para Politicas Públicas met with the Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (FEIM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the DDV campaign. Andrea Mariño, Sociologist and Project Coordinator at FEIM, and other with Advisers from the Women’s Council at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs joined the discussion. As a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs now fully supports the campaign and has agreed to promote future activities. The Foreign Affairs Adviser invited APP to present the campaign to the Gender Sub-commission within the NGO Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Outreach activities at Subte Station Callao in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaOutreach activities at Subte Station Callao in Buenos Aires, Argentina

On 19 June APP organised outreach activities at Subte Station Callao in Buenos Aires. Newsletters were circulated with details about the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign, including resources for women or potential victims. Other campaign materials such as keyrings, stickers, and wristbands proved popular. APP staff were on hand to explain the campaign. APP also met with gender experts from the National Council of Women to share materials, discuss the launch of the campaign and future collaboration.

Brazil

The Disarm Domestic Violence Campaign was launched as part of the Disarmament Convoy, led by Viva Comunidade and the Disarm Brazil Network – with the support of Viva Rio and the Brazilian government. The Convoy has traveled through 14 cities and covered themes of local importance such as public security, youth involvement, violence against women and the role and accountability of the security sector.

The campaign will also be on the agenda at the First National Conference on Public Security planned in August 2009. Viva Rio and members of the Disarm Brazil Network will propose innovative actions for a new public security policy to be defined in collaboration with civil society.

Canada

The Disarming Domestic Violence campaign, which is jointly coordinated by Project Ploughshares, Peacebuild and the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children was launched at the opening of the 1st Annual Canadian Conference on the Prevention of Domestic Homicides. On 15 June, Maribel Gonzales of Project Ploughshares and Coordinator of the Small Arms Working Group of Peacebuild gave a presentation which made the links between small arms proliferation and domestic violence.

Maribel GonzalesMaribel Gonzales

Her address also explained how small arms proliferation could be controlled (internationally and in Canada), and the need to attack the forces which drive demand for small arms, while promoting international advocacy on the issue.

The conference took place at London Convention Centre in Ontario, on June 14-15 and was attended by 400 participants from across Canada representing justice, law enforcement, domestic violence support groups/programs, crisis centre workers, and academics. It was organised by the University of Ontario’s Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children, one of five centres which make up the Alliance of Canadian Research Centres on Violence. The aim of the conference was to enhance research and practice collaboration to review and prevent domestic homicides. A useful and informative information sheet provides information about the Canadian context and how this relates to the international campaign.

On 16 June the international Disarm Domestic Violence campaign was backed by Canada’s Coalition for Gun Control. Coalition president Wendy Cukier said: “Although gun violence takes different forms in different countries, there is a common theme: where there is easy access to firearms, there are higher rates of women and children killed with guns. The Global Week of Action is a good opportunity to draw attention to the fact that in spite of the differences, whether in Canada, South Africa, Australia, Trinidad or Brazil we share common goals: safe communities.” Click here to view the press release.

Silent Witness Exhibition, Canada, 2009Silent Witness Exhibition, Canada, 2009

Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis have joined the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign. They work to end violence against all women and children, offering shelter, support and advocacy, as well as a 24-hour phone line to women survivors of emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse in Guelph and Wellington County. On 19 June the campaign was launched in Guelph, Ontario, with the screening of the documentary, Devil's Bargain: A Journey into the Small Arms Trade. The event was organised by Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, Project Ploughshares and the Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children.

Cameroon

The Trauma Centre in Cameroon launched the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign on 22 May with a month-long survey about guns in the home, interviewing more than 100 households in Yaounde.

Between 14-18 June, Women in Alternative Action Cameroon (WAA) led a training session for 25 young people on survey techniques. The training included guidance on how to approach the authorities on small arms topics. Participants in the course then used questionnaires to explore the effect of guns on women, and explain the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign. On 20 June WAA led a workshop with leaders of women's groups. Commissioner Rita Nji spoke about the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign.

Colombia

Colectivo Dignidad Humana were active throughout the week including: 16 June in Plaza de Caycedo, the central park in Santiago de Cali and 17 June in the government square which attracted the interest of over 150 members of the public.

Plaza de Caycedo, Santiago de Cali, ColombiaPlaza de Caycedo, Santiago de Cali, Colombia

On 18 June they organised an awareness day at a health centre 'Garces Luis Horacio' and over 50 medical staff, paramedics and patients were informed about the campaign. A similar awareness raising session also took place at a school, the 'Colegio Hogar' with students from the 9, 10 and 11 grade and their teachers. On 19 June a discussion was held at the University on armed violence prevention in Colombia including within the home, especially the impact on the lives of women. There were over 40 participants including people from the community of Caleña, community leaders, university Students, attorneys, doctors, paramedics, lawyers, and civil society including Asopropaz.

Gissella Salazar being interviewed by TelepacificoGissella Salazar being interviewed by Telepacifico

On 21 June (Father's Day in Cololmbia) the campaign message was promoted at a sports facility in Caleña. They urged men "to pedal for disarmament" and distributed campaign materials to over 1000 people. Colectivo spokesperson Gisselle Salazar was interviewed by Channel Telepafico and urged the public to support the campaign and the week of action.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Over forty women's organisations participated in the Disarm Domestic Violence launch in Kinshasa, organised by DRC members of the IANSA Women's Network, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) on 20 June. Presentations were also made about the ATT and the work of the National Commission on Small Arms. UNDP and Congolese Women From the Diaspora also attended the event.

Participants of the IANSA Women's Network meeting, DRCParticipants of the IANSA Women's Network meeting, DRC

El Salvador

CEMUJER launched the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign at the Monument to the Constitution in San Salvador on 14 June. They displayed posters and distributed flyers with statistics about gun homicides and illegal firearms in the country. Reporters from Radio YSUCA, the newspapers Co Latino and El Mundo, and five TV channels attended the event.

Campaign launch in San SalvadorCampaign launch in San Salvador

A second event was held on 15 June at the University of El Salvador. Activists shared their views about gun violence and wrote peace messages.

During the week CEMUJER has actively supported the DDV campaign, writing letters to Parliament, the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, the police, and the public prosecutor, urging them to make a public statement rejecting violence against women and children, and to work towards strengthening the laws that protect them. The Parliamentary Commissions on Public Security and Narcotics and the Commission on Family, Women and Childhood are now discussing CEMUJER’s proposals.

France

On 20 June AP Peace Fellow Rebecca Gerome and fellow activists organised an event to publicise the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign in Paris.

The Paris gatheringThe Paris gathering

India

At a meeting of the Manipuri Women Gun Survivors’ Network Mrs M Sobita, Secretary of Women’s Action for Development, highlighted the difficulties faced by women. “Domestic violence for a woman starts from womb to tomb, with the practice of abortion if it is a girl child,” she said. Mrs Sobita praised the Manipur group’s work in fighting domestic violence, noting that a large proportion of Manipuri women face violence every day. The meeting included moving testimonies from gun survivors, concluding with a resolution to stay vigilant and continue working towards curbing domestic violence in Manipur.

Manipuri Women Gun Survivors NetworkManipuri Women Gun Survivors Network

Kenya

The African Council of Religious Leaders meeting heard this week how the easy availability and cheapness of small arms has made them the weapons of choice in world conflicts. IANSA Africa Coordinator Joseph Dube addressed the meeting on the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign.

Liberia

On 18 June Kerian Pelenah, Program Manager and ATT Coordinator of Liberians United to Expose Hidden Weapons (LUEHW) explained the importance of the Week of Action to Patience Guanu on the UN Radio programme ‘Coffee Break’. Kerian drew attention to the launch of the Disarm Domestic Violence Campaign.

Barbara Ketter, the Gender Officer with Youth for Community Academic & Development Services (YOCADS) urged campaigners to lobby the Liberian parliament to protect women against gun violence in the home, at a symposium in Monrovia on 20 June. The meeting, organised by Liberians United to Expose Hidden Weapons (LUEHW), discussed the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign.

Macedonia

On 15 June, Journalists for Children and Women Rights and Protection of Environment (JCWE) in Macedonia held a press conference at the Deputies Club in Skopje. JCWE launched their report on armed violence and women based on data collected as part of the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign. The key findings were that 95 survivors of domestic violence were surveyed and 95% (91 women) confirmed the perpetrator had access to a gun; 91% (87 women) confirmed that the gun was held illegally; and 73% (70 women) confirmed that their children were aware that a gun was in the home. More than 20 journalists attended.

left: Natasa Dokovska of JCWEleft: Natasa Dokovska of JCWE

On 16 June they launched a national SOS helpline for victims of armed violence. The helpline number is 141700. The launch was attended by 15 NGOs working on women's rights.

On 17 June they held a workshop with women survivors of armed violence called 'How to recognise violence and an abuser'. Participants included over 25 women from 3 shelters in Skopje.

Mexico

In San Cristobal de las Casas, Guadalajara and Mexico City campaigners have contacted radio stations and newspapers to tell them about the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign. On June 17, in San Cristobal de las Casas the group COLEM spoke about the campaign in their radio programme Aquelarre on Frecuencia Libre 99.1 COLEM also presented the campaign to local women’s groups, some of whom have agreed to collect data on domestic violence in the Chiapas region. Martha Figueroa from COLEM said: "This campaign will help us put pressure on the government so men who belong to the police, the army and private security companies will not be able to carry guns when they are not on duty. Then they will not be able to bring their guns home."

On 22 June CIMAC Noticias carried an article about COLEM's activities Armas y violencia en el hogar: peligro para las mujeres on their website.

Namibia

On 4 June Felix Muchila, host of “The Ninth Hour” on the national Namibian Broadcasting Company (NBC), interviewed Pauline Dempers and Johanna Wilkie of NANGOF Trust. The radio interview centered on the problem of gun violence in Namibia and internationally. Pauline talked about the link between guns and violence against women, and announced the launch of the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign on 11 June. Panelists at the launch event included: Members of Parliament Hon. E Dienda and Hon. M Venaani, Ms R Namises, Director of Women’s Solidarity, and Mr. H Theunis, Director of De-mining Project. Pauline was also interviewed about the campaign, alongside a Windhoek police officer, on the Damara/Nama radio station, which broadcasts in the Nama language. Pauline also published a letter and an opinion piece in the 19 June edition of The Namibian newspaper. The Republikein, the national Afrikaans-language newspaper published a story about the DDV launch on 17 June.

Pauline Dempers, Director of Namibian NGO Breaking the Wall of SilencePauline Dempers, Director of Namibian NGO Breaking the Wall of Silence

Nepal

On 14 June, parliamentarians, policy makers and representatives of the police and army heard evidence about the impact of small arms on innocent people at a meeting in Kathmandu. The meeting, jointly organised by the Institute of Human Rights Communications Nepal (IHRICON), South Asia Peace Alliance (SAPA Nepal) and National Women Security Watch (NWS) featured a research paper which highlighted the use of guns in domestic violence. Mr. Rudra Nepal, assistant Secretary at the Foreign Ministry was among the 65 delegates. Afterwards, survivors of armed conflict shared their experience in a live radio interview on Image F.M.

Sixty-one cyclists rode through the streets of Kathmandu to deliver a memo to all political parties on 19 June in support of the Disarming Domestic Violence (DDV) campaign. The memo urged all parties to take action to prevent domestic violence committed with guns. The campaign launch was covered by Nepal TV, and in leading national daily and weekly newspapers. The event was organised by SAP-Nepal, SASA Net Nepal and Yatra, a youth organisation. Daniel Prins from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs participated.

Disarm DV bicycle rally, NepalDisarm DV bicycle rally, Nepal

Nigeria

Women activists from the CAFSO-Women’s Rights Action Group visited the parliament of Oyo State in south-western Nigeria to lobby its members and ask them to support tough legislation to reduce gun violence. The activists met with representatives from the House Committee on Security and Strategy, the House Committee on Women’s Affairs, Human Rights and Good Governance, and the House Committee on Information and Orientation. The group was also successful in meeting with a major national newspaper – The Nigerian Tribune – to discuss the importance of the media’s role in highlighting and eradicating gun violence.

An Enugu based NGO, Women Information Network (WINET) has appealed to both the Federal and State governments to support IANSA’s Disarm Domestic Violence campaign, and take steps to keep women safe from gun violence. The statement, issued by WINET project Coordinator, Ijeoma Ogbonna, highlighted the experience of women who are threatened with violence in the home. Click here to download the press statement.

Mimidoo Achakpa of Women's Right to Education Programme and the IANSA Women's Network Nigeria met the Commissioner for Women's Affairs in Benue State on 16 June, to discuss how guns affect women in the state and the central region of Nigeria.

Pakistan

On 15 June at a briefing in the Multan Press Club organised by the Awaz Centre for Development Services, Awaz chief executive Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman highlighted the launch of the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign. He pointed out that huge numbers of illegal firearms were being used in violence against women, with rifles being used to beat women, as well as threaten them with shooting. He said that in 85% of domestic violence cases the police were reluctant to intervene, as they considered it to be a private matter. Superintendent Shaukat Abaas of the District Police Office suggested that government should reduce the risk from firearms by launching weapon-destruction programmes, establishing gun-free zones and toughening the rules on gun ownership. Read the full report and survey findings here.

Campaign poster by Awaz CDSCampaign poster by Awaz CDS

Blue Veins, based in the North West Frontier Province made a poster which linked to the theme of the dangers of guns in the home and community. They also received widespread media coverage throughout the week including Daily Surkhab, Daily Subah, Daily Nawe Waqt, Daily Pakistan, Daily Jinnah, Daily Express, Daily Khabrain, The Daily Awam un Nass, Daily sheyaq, Daily Wahdat, Daily Jihad, and Daily Khabroona.

Week of Action poster 2009, Blue VeinsWeek of Action poster 2009, Blue Veins

In Peshawar, Community Initiatives Support Services (CISS) were busy throughout the week raising awareness of the problem of guns in the home and their link to family violence. On 15 June they organised a drawing competition at Rose Model Primary School, followed by a competition for middle level students at Khyber Islamic Model School on 16 June.

On 18 June CISS held a community gathering with emphasis on youth involvement, and their activities ended on the 20 with a walk through Peshawar led by Syed Iqbal Jafri, Col.(R) Iftikhar Ahmed Qazi and Imdad Khan Afridi (Executive Members of CISS). Personnel from the local administration and the police also joined in and helped to make it a successful event.

CISS and supporters march through PeshawarCISS and supporters march through Peshawar

CISS gained extensive media coverage about their activities and highlighted the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign throughout including items in The Nation, The Frontier Star, The Frontier Times, Voice of Peshawar, Daily Surkhab Peshawar, Daily Il Haaq, The Daily Awam Un Nass and The Daily Pakistan Peshawar.

Paraguay

Coordinadora para Asentamientos Espontáneos started the Week of Action with media outreach to print and broadcast journalists. The group has requested a meeting with the Minister for Women to discuss the aims of the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign.

Portugal

On 29 June the Observatory on Gender and Armed Violence (OGAV) based at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, launched the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign and screened the premiere of the documentary 'Luto como Mãe' (Right to Mourn) directed by Luis Carlos Nascimento.

On 26 June Tatiana Moura from OGAV, Luis Carlos Nascimento and Elizabeth Paulino were interviewed on RTP (national television) and Antena 1 (national radio) for the regional news programme about the campaign and the documentary. Tatiana said it is important to recognise the gender dimension in armed violence (public and private), highlighting the link between guns and domestic violence.

Rwanda

On 17-18 June, SaferRwanda organised a seminar for community leaders in Kimonye Sector, Muasanze District, in the gun-affected north of the country. Participants discussed options for removing guns from circulation in the region, and disarming domestic violence (DDV) within the community and the role of women as peacebuilders.

Senegal

In a public event organised by the Movement Against Small Arms in West Africa (MALAO) and WAANSA-Senegal in Dakar on 16 June, Honoré Georges Ndiaye, Executive Director of MALAO urged the Senegalese government to amend the law to include spouses in the investigation process when an application for a gun permit is made.

Serbia

Jasmina Nikolic of the Victimology Society of Serbia was interviewed on Belgrade-based television network TV Pink in the morning news programme on 15 June. In her interview, Jasmina highlighted the group’s current anti-violence campaign by stressing the correlation between the possession of small arms and the rates of domestic violence abuse.

The Victimology Society of Serbia launched the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign on 18 June at the Belgrade Media Centre. Speakers included: Dr Mirjana Dokmanovic, an international lawyer, journalist, researcher and lecturer on human rights and women’s rights, and President of the Women’s Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in Serbia & Montenegro; Professor Dr Zelko Nikac, a police officer and professor, and Professor Dr Vesna Nikolic Ristanovic, and Jasmina Nikolic both from the Victimology Society of Serbia.

Dr Mirjana DokmanovicDr Mirjana Dokmanovic

More than 30 people attended from organisations including CPD, the Centre for Children's Rights; UNDP; the Office of the Municipal Public Prosecutors of Belgrade; SOS TELEFON hotline for children and women; UDMIZEM TOGOMHA, Organization of War Prisoners; ACMEP, the Faculty for Special Education and Rehabilitation; AZC, women's centre; FPN, Faculty for Political Sciences; and the NUNS, the Trade Union of Journalists.

Professor Dr Zelko Nikac, Police Officer and ProfessorProfessor Dr Zelko Nikac, Deputy Police Chief and Professor

The press conference attracted widescale media interest from agencies and broadcasters including FONET, FOX TV, RTRS (National TV from Sprska Republic, in Bosnia and Herzegovina), RADIO BELGRADE 202, RTS national TV, RTV PINK, B-PRO-SOLUTIONS, NIN weekly newspaper, BETA press agency, B92 and RADIO SLOBODNA EUROPA. Fox TV, Radio Belgrade 202, RTV and Radio Serbia reported the conference.

Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA) launched a media campaign in Freetown on 15 June. SLANSA members are pressing for the government to harmonise gun and domestic violence laws, and for spouses and partners to be consulted before a gun license is granted - an essential measure to protect women.

South Africa

Laura Pollecut of the Ceasefire Campaign led meetings in Pietermaritzburg, in the province of KwaZulu Natal, on 15 June. She discussed gun violence with the Coordinator, staff and residents from The Haven, a women’s shelter. “In a province known for its traditional approach to women,” Laura noted, “it was not surprising that women related well to the issues I put on the table." Speaking in isiZulu, at least three women recounted harrowing stories of their experience of gun violence. One talked specifically about domestic violence. The Shelter coordinator confirmed that gunshots are often heard in the area, and has asked Ceasefire to arrange further events. Laura also explained how South African law can be used to ensure that domestic violence abusers are denied access to guns. But more resources are needed to make sure that the law is implemented properly, she added.

The Ceasefire Campaign also screened the ARTE/Amnesty documentary Arms, Dealing and National Interests and Michael Moore’s film Bowling For Columbine in Johannesburg. This was followed by a discussion on guns and domestic violence, and materials for the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign were distributed.

Sri Lanka

The South Asia Small Arms Network in Sri Lanka launched a mini survey on guns and domestic violence on 16 June as part of the Disarming Domestic Violence Campaign. Questionnaires have been translated into local languages and are being used in three districts: Pollonnaruwa and Anuradhapura from the North Central Province - both on the border with the conflict zone - and Hanguranketha District in a peaceful zone. The results of the survey will be used in media outreach during the week of action. The information from these districts will enable SASANet to identify areas for further research. They hope to extend the research to other districts as part of the international campaign.

Sudan

Women Development Group (WDG) in Khartoum held a two-day workshop on gun violence in the home on 16-17 June. On 19 June, WDG, in association with Sawa Sawa Women Association, Women Relationship, and Ekawia Association led a peace march to the Council of Ministers and presented a paper on the work of IANSA, SSANSA and the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign to the Acting Governor, the Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement, and various other Ministers and Government Advisors. In her address to the crowd, Mary Rose Mariano, the Minister of Social Development, spoke about the impact of guns on women and gave examples of recent incidents where women had been killed by their husbands, including a local staff member of UNMIS.

Turks & Caicos Islands

On 15 June the Gender Affairs Unit of the Turks and Caicos Islands partnered with Women Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD) and held a public rally and march to launch the Disarm Domestic Violence Campaign. The theme was 'Stop the Violence… Not another one' with scores of women, men and children participating in the march through the streets of Providenciales.

Addressing the rally in ProvidencialesAddressing the rally in Providenciales

At the rally the Hon Karen Delancy Minister of Home Affairs and Human Services, responsible for Gender Affairs, and the Hon Floyd Seymour, Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition addressed the crowd. Other speakers included representatives from government ministries such as Education, Health and Social Development. Inter-governmental organisations and civil society actors including faith based organisations were also well represented and supportive. The Campaign will continue for the month of June with a programme of events including women's discussions on crime and violence and self defence classes for women.

Uganda

On 19 June The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CECORE) and the Uganda Action Network on Small Arms (UANSA) co-sponsored the national launch of the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign at the Royal Imperial Hotel in Kampala. The event featured expert panelists who spoke about the intersecting problems of domestic violence and small arms in Uganda.

Rose Othieno, CECORE, and Richard Mugisha, UANSA, represented civil society organizations, while former minister and gender activist Miria Matembe and current National Focal Point director Joe Burua provided insight into the government’s response to this problem.

Panelists from left to right: Miria Matembe, Rose Othieno, Richard Mugisha, and Joe Burua.Panelists from left to right: Miria Matembe, Rose Othieno, Richard Mugisha, and Joe Burua.

Ms Othieno explained that the goal of the DDV campaign is to remove guns from the hands of known domestic violence offenders through the passage of laws that would make it impossible for offenders to purchase or own firearms, at least not without spousal notification. Ms Matembe concurred that domestic violence in Uganda is treated as almost a 'normal thing' and that officials, from police to the courts to parliament, have thus far been hesitant to take meaningful action to halt violence against women.

The audience, consisting primarily of representatives from the media and other civil society organizations, packed the conference room and readily expressed support for the campaign. The event received coverage on several local radio stations and appeared in an article in Monday’s edition of The Daily Monitor, a major national newspaper.

UK

The Gun Control Network has published a list of recent incidents in the UK in which guns are known to have been used in acts of domestic violence:

On 17 June Women in Black (London) and the IANSA Women’s Network held a vigil near Trafalgar Square to highlight the levels of gun deaths amongst women in domestic violence incidents in the UK. Although British law now bans the sale of handguns, legally-held weapons (rifles, shotguns, airguns) are used in murders of women in the home. In England and Wales, one in three women killed by their husbands is shot with a legally-owned weapon - 64% of these murders involve shotguns. (Criminal Statistics England and Wales, 2000) Since 2004, nearly three quarters of the 39 female gun homicide victims in Britain were killed in domestic incidents.

Women in Black LondonWomen in Black London

Members of the public signed letters to Prime Minister Gordon Brown urging the British government to: systematically and centrally collect information on gun deaths in domestic violence incidents; recognise that family killings are the only category of homicide in which women outnumber men as victims, and pledge to protect women in their homes; and harmonise national arms control legislation, with laws on domestic violence.

United Nations

UN participation in the Global Week of Action began with a statement from the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Amb Sergio Duarte. He hoped the Week of Action would energise governments and civil society for the fight against misuse and proliferation of small arms. UNIDIR (the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research) issued a statement stressing on the indiscriminate and unnecessary suffering caused by small arms and praising the efforts of WoA participants in working towards the eradication of domestic violence. Read the statements on the Week of Action page www.iansa.org/woa

On 18 June UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro addressed the Council of Europe's Conference for Ministers of Justice, held in Tromso, Norway. The conference theme was Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence. IANSA members are heartened by her inclusion of gun violence in the home when talking about the multiple dimensions of domestic violence and its impact upon women. “They lose their lives to gunshots, beatings, burns and other horrendous forms of abuse” she stated. “This violence is pervasive and its effects are widespread. Not only are individual women victimised, but whole societies suffer major setbacks.” In line with the aims and objectives of the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign, Ms Migiro acknowledged the need for a legal framework to help prevent such violence including the development of new laws, the review and better implementation of existing ones, and the need to change attitudes and behaviour.

USA

The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) has been urging newspapers to cover the launch of the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign. The Seattle Times ran an opinion piece by the group’s Executive Director, Nan Stoops, Time to disarm violent domestic abusers on 15 June, 2009

WSCADV also circulated information to its 66 member programmes on 16 June to explain the Disarming Domestic Violence campaign using research and policy recommendations from the Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review. These stress the importance of asking domestic violence survivors about the presence of firearms in their homes, and discussing the risks; and asking local law enforcement agencies whether they have a protocol for removing weapons from convicted domestic violence offenders. If not, WSCADV is asking members to consult one of the law enforcement agencies in Washington State that has implemented such a policy.

During the week Gladys Momanyi, a student at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, has initiated an outreach programme for the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign in prominent locations including at the main library and university centre to explain the issue to students, staff and visitors.

Outreach activities at Nova University, FloridaOutreach activities at Nova University, Florida

The highlight of the week was a Disarm Domestic Violence conference on 18 June held in the Alvin Sherman Library - Art Gallery, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida organised by the Nova Southeastern University Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Over 50 people attended including representatives from the American Association of University Women, NSU Chapter; Public Education Officers; legal officers; law enforcement officers; students (both university and high school), professors; and members of the local community.

Lt. Paul Brugman, Division Commander in Special Operations, Davie, FloridaLt. Paul Brugman, Division Commander in Special Operations, Davie, Florida

Speakers included: Dr Laurel E. Thompson, Director of the School Social Work and Attendance Department of the School Board of Broward County, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Lt. Paul Brugman, Police officer, Division Commander in Special Operations, Town of Davie, Florida; Catherine L. Roselli, Law Officer; Sergeant Adam Hofstein, Abuse & Neglect Unit Supervisor, Special Victims & Family Crimes Section, Regional Investigations Division, Broward Sheriff's Office, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Julia Lewis, doctoral candidate in international business at Nova Southeastern University; Aisha McDonald, AmeriCorps member at Women In Distress of Broward County, Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Dr. Marcia Sweedler, Chair, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University; Dr. Judith McKay Professor, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Dr. Elena Bastidas, Professor, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution; and Dr Warren, Professor, Department of Psychology, and Dr Michelle Rice, Associate Chair, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

The event gained wide support from the Faculty, students and general public with a lively discussion session after the conference. Outreach activities will continue for the rest of the week including the collection of signatures for a petition urging Florida State to strengthen its gun laws to prevent domestic violence abusers from accessing guns.

The Advocacy Project (AP), a partner of IANSA, is supporting the Disarm Domestic Violence campaign by sending Peace Fellows to eight IANSA members in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Nepal, Namibia, Portugal, Serbia, and Uganda. The Fellows are collecting information, and documenting the stories of survivors of gun violence in the home.

Vatican

On 17 June the Vatican News Agency featured an article by the Catholic peace movement Pax Christi supporting the Disarm Domestic Violence Campaign and urging all Pax Christi affiliates worldwide to join it.

Zambia

Charles Mulenga of the Action Network Advisory on Small Arms (ANASA) held a press conference with the Ministry of Defence on 19 June. It was attended by 15 media organisations, including local television station CBC. Charles stressed the need for a review of firearm laws, including those to tackle armed domestic violence.