Gun violence and intimate partner violence are inextricably linked.
The intersection between domestic violence and gun violence in the U.S. is undeniable. Guns further exacerbate the power and control dynamic used by abusers. This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are sharing initiatives from across the Center for Court Innovation that address these issues.
A key to decreasing gun-related crimes is preventing people convicted of domestic violence offenses from accessing firearms. While many federal and state statutes prohibit those convicted from possessing or purchasing arms, few places have protocols that ensure people actually surrender their weapons. To address this gap, we are participating in a national Firearms Technical Assistance Project to help jurisdictions across the U.S. create court and community-based processes to enhance safety for survivors.
Providing expertise, strategic planning, training, community engagement, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, our DV RISC—Domestic Violence Resource for Increasing Safety and Connection—is a national resource center that helps jurisdictions prevent domestic violence homicides.
Taking a restorative approach to justice, we work directly with people who have committed domestic violence crimes. By helping practitioners develop programming that address the behavior and beliefs of those accused of domestic violence crimes, individuals are able to recognize the harm that’s been done, change underlying attitudes, and make an active commitment toward healing. Our programs look at these factors through trauma-informed practices and apply interpersonal, community, and cultural lenses to support responsibility, healing, hope, and transformation for people who cause harm.
Leveraging the community violence interruption model, our Reimaging Intimacy through Social Engagement (RISE) project provides training and wrap-around services, working with partner organizations to identify and support when intimate partner violence and gun violence may intersect. The RISE team also engages communities in creating change from within, asking people to define how the norms that fuel domestic violence manifest in their communities.
Learning about community members’ experiences allows us to provide a tailored approach in building new practices towards healthy relationships. Working directly with communities, with people who have caused harm, and with jurisdictions to help to prevent homicides are all important steps towards this goal.