FirearmsandDV

Our Policy

• Family courts know that domestic violence cases can easily escalate to dangerous – even lethal – levels, particularly where an abusive party has access to firearms. • Firearms laws have the potential to protect domestic violence victims and their children from lethality by limiting an abuser’s access to firearms. • Through cutting-edge training, technical assistance, and research, the NCJFCJ works with courts and communities nationwide to implement best practices to ensure that courts protect victims of domestic violence from firearms lethality. Our Work • In 2006, the NCJFCJ hosted the first-ever national dialogue focusing on domestic violence and firearms. The National Summit for Community Safety brought together almost 250 judges, advocates and other professionals to discuss issues concerning domestic violence and firearms. The summit was the result of a partnership between the NCJFCJ, the National Center on Full Faith and Credit, the Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP), and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). • Since the ground-breaking Summit more than a decade ago, the NCJFCJ has educated thousands of judges and other professionals on firearms issues in webinars, conferences, and workshops. • The NCJFCJ has developed, with the help of national experts, two publications that address the role of courts and law enforcement in protecting victims of domestic violence from abusers’ use of firearms against them: A Passport to Safety: Full Faith and Credit, A Judicial Guide (VAWA 2005 Edition, 2011, with an update in 2014 for changes made in VAWA 2013), and Civil Protection Orders: A Guide to Improving Practice (2010). • In 2014, the NCJFCJ embarked on a three-year Firearms Technical Assistance (TA) Project, in partnership with BWJP and OVW. During the project, NCJFCJ was instrumental in developing a set of community objectives that provide a national framework for effective implementation of federal, state, tribal, and local firearms prohibitions. In addition to convening a focus group of judges in January 2015 to discuss barriers to enforcing firearms prohibitions and identify strategies for overcoming those barriers, NCJFCJ helped to organize the Forum on Firearms, the second national multidisciplinary convening about domestic violence and firearms, held in Detroit in May 2015. As part of the TA Project, NCJFCJ was also instrumental in planning a Tribal Convening, held in January 2017, to discuss particular challenges to implementing firearms restrictions in Indian Country. Throughout the project, NCJFCJ contributed significantly to the development of a website of online resources for professionals who are working to implement firearms prohibitions in their communities. • In fall 2016, NCJFCJ was awarded a grant from OVW to conduct a national pilot site initiative that will identify 5-10 diverse communities that are interested in enhancing their efforts to implement firearms prohibitions in domestic violence cases. In partnership with OVW, NCJFCJ will collaborate with BWJP and other project partners to select sites, work with sites to assess their unique challenges, and determine appropriate strategies for addressing those challenges.

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