Womens’ Safety and Gun Violence

“Every year in Canada, more than 100,000 women and children leave their homes to seek safety in a shelter.”

Firearms, most often long-guns — rifles and shotguns — are an all too frequent element of domestic violence and women and children in these situations suffer disproportionately from a lack of controls on firearms.

Every year in Canada, more than 100,000 women and children leave their homes to seek safety in a shelter. Gun violence is present in many of these cases, taking such forms as intimidation, control and homicide. Studies and coroner inquests have shown that rates of homicide in domestic violence situations increase significantly when there is a firearm in the home. Long guns are the guns most likely to be used in domestic violence situations.

Many women’s groups voiced their opposition to Bill C-19 (Ending the Long-gun Registry Act), fearing that it will put women at even greater risk. Women’s groups and safety experts were given limited opportunity to provide input during Parliamentary study of the Bill.

This handout from Summer 2013 gives an update on Bill C-19 and facts on the risk that women face from gun violence. Women’s safety experts and front line women’s organizations have repeatedly spoke out on the importance of gun control and the gun registry to protecting women at risk of domestic violence. In addition, check out this press release  from the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative. It highlights that the rate of firearm-related homicide is higher in rural than urban areas.

For the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, the presence or absence of guns in the household remains the single most determinant factor in the assessment of risk for lethality in every case of domestic violence. Learn more here. In addition, the Coalition for Gun Control published a handout on March 8, 2015 for International Women’s Day. To take a look at it, click here.

In partnership with the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW), we have put together this document explaining the impact of Bill C-42 on women’s safety.