In Focus Armed Violence Monitor – Firearm-related Suicides in South East Europe in 2020 is Published

The most recent issue of SEESAC's In Focus Armed Violence Monitor brings light to firearm-related suicides in South East Europe (SEE) in 2020.

By focusing on suicide deaths involving firearms, ammunition and explosives (FAE), as one of the most lethal means for attempting suicide, SEESAC contributes to raising awareness of suicide as a major public health issue that impacts individuals, communities, cultures and genders worldwide.

Key highlights from this issue include:

  • 67 deaths by suicide were reported in SEE in 2020.
  • In 2020, men were far more likely than women to die by suicide, with 66 (97%) men, and one (1.5%) woman, indicating a substantial gender disparity.
  • Men in the 36-60 age group were predominant victims of firearm-related suicides, closely followed by those aged 61 and older.
  • Fifteen murder suicides were reported, of which eleven (73%) were committed in the context of domestic violence involving intimate partners (6) and other family members (2). Perpetrators of such incidents were predominantly men, accounting for 93% of perpetrators.
  • Handguns were used in more than half of suicides (30 or 56.6%). Rifles/ Shotguns and explosives were the second most commonly used type of weapons, being reported in ten suicides each. Explosives were mainly used by men aged 61 and older (7).
  • In 11 (57.7 %) suicides, the weapons were in legal possession, while in 15 (42.3%) cases, the weapons were in illegal possession. The weapons in legal possession were mainly handguns (7) and rifles/shotguns (3).
  • Firearm-related suicides in urban areas (49 or 73.1%) outnumbered those in rural areas (18 or 26.9%).

To read the whole report, please click here.

About the Armed Violence Monitoring Platform (AVMP)

The Armed Violence Monitoring Platform (AVMP) has been established by SEESAC with EU funding within the framework of EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2356 and is currently supported through EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2111, in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe.

The AVMP captures data on firearm-related incidents happening in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo* and the Republic of Moldova. 

The data is gathered daily from the relevant authorities' official websites, as well as print and online media.  The collected data range from the type of incident, firearms used, age and gender of the victim and the perpetrator, outcome of the incident. etc. Basic data analysis is also provided for various data sets aiming to discover trends related to the incidents. Quality assurance is conducted rigorously by SEESAC. The platform has seen significant improvements in recent years in terms of data collection and categorization. 

The purpose of the AVMP is to make essential data available to all interested parties working on small arms and light weapons control. The AVMP can serve as an informative tool for interventions with the overarching goal of a more effective response on arms control and the reduction of their negative impact on civilians.

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).