Engender Equality People

Firearm Bill needs to consider women’s safety

Firearm Bill needs to consider women’s safety.

The issue of women’s safety and the fear of violence is an essential consideration of the Firearms (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill 2015 currently before the Legislative Council.

“When talking about firearms and family violence, focusing just on injury and death ignores the issue that it is the threat – it is the fear of violence against herself, or her children that gives the perpetrator his power,” says Ms Alina Thomas, Executive Office of SHE, a local specialised domestic violence counselling for women.

“We need to be concerned about women being injured and killed as well as the insidious and covert emotional abuse which leads to post-traumatic stress syndrome and long term mental health problems and for hundreds of women in Tasmania. This cannot be measured as statistics in reports. If you add firearms to the power and abuse that is already being used by perpetrators of family violence then you get a huge increase in the level of fear that women experience. Women will go from fearing for their safety to fearing for their lives,”

Ms Thomas explained. “If we are to be genuinely concerned about women’s safety we need to be looking at reducing fear and increasing opportunities for women to leave relationships – giving violent and abusive partners access to guns will do neither of these things,” stated Ms Thomas.

Advocates have been calling for the inclusion of a “spousal notification” provision in amendments to the Tasmanian Firearm Act so that partners or ex-partners are notified when someone is applying for a firearm license. This amendment will bring Tasmanian law into line with provisions already operating in Canada and England. This law is an opportunity for the government to demonstrate a fundamental level of care and concern for women’s safety.

Domestic and family violence is the leading cause of death, injury and disability in women under the age of 44.

If you need help please contact the Family Violence Counselling service on 1800 633 937 (9am – midnight Monday – Friday, 4pm – midnight weekend and public holidays).

For immediate release.
Please contact Alina Thomas on 0438 788 291 with enquiries.