Firearms misuse for domestic violence and suicide - a brief overview

Firearms misuse for domestic violence and suicide - a brief overview

August 9, 2023

Women are the majority of victims of firearms-enabled domestic and partner-relationship violence. Firearms in the home increase the risk of a fatal outcome of violence and serious injuries, while firearms are often used for intimidation, threats, psychological and sexual violence. In fear that the abuser may misuse firearms against them, victims do not report violence to institutions or find it difficult to turn to someone for help.

Firearms are also the most commonly used methods for committing suicide. Although there is a decrease in the suicide rate in Serbia, data indicate that men commit suicide in many more cases than women. Stigma, misunderstanding, stereotypes and ignorance are the main challenges in suicide prevention and increasing mental health care. They continue to prevent people, including people with access to firearms based on their job or hobby, from reaching out for support in case of need.

The health system comes into contact with a large number of citizens and can have relevant insights both into the condition of patients and their family dynamics, and has an important role, but also legal obligations in preventing domestic violence, as well as firearms misuse. Bearing this in mind, through the "Reduce risk - increase safety II" project, UNDP in Serbia mapped the opportunities and challenges of the health system for a more effective recognition and response to the risk of firearms misuse for violence and suicide, in order to strengthen the role of this sector in creating a safer society for all.

Document Type
Regions and Countries
Sustainable Development Goals