SEESAC Releases Study: Gender and SALW in South East Europe

SEESAC just released the “Gender and SALW in South East Europe” study and accompanying practical toolkit, as well as an infographic, providing fresh insights into the numerous ways in which gender and SALW-related behaviors and practices intersect. The study complements ongoing efforts to raise awareness on the dangers of misuse of SALW and its impact on domestic violence – see our campaigns in Albania, Moldova & Serbia.

The study documents the gender differentiation of specific risks that women and men face in respect to small arms and light weapons (SALW) in South East Europe (SEE). The analysis of the data collected in cooperation with national SALW commissions and relevant institutions in SEE presented in this report shows that:

  • Men make up an overwhelming majority of firearm owners – more than 95 per cent. Men’s dominance in acquiring firearms is persistent.
  • The use of firearms in homicide is widespread but varies greatly across the region.
  • Men are responsible for more than 97% per cent of firearm-related incidents, women for less than three per cent.
  • Men account for the vast majority of victims of firearm-related incidents (more than 80%), but are more often perpetrators than victims. Women are several times more often victims than perpetrators.
  • Murder by intimate partner is the most common form of female homicide in SEE (ranging between 41 per cent and 100 per cent), while it comprises only a minor share in the total number of male homicides.
  • The high share of women murdered with firearms (from 33% to 100%) reflects the high lethality of firearms in the context of domestic violence.
  • Women are still underrepresented in SALW control policy making. They account for 14-29 per cent of members of SALW commissions, while the share of men is between 76 and 86 per cent.

By building on this data and taking a tailor-made approach to policy analysis, the study reveals: gaps in the prevailing legislative policy response in SEE; the gender concerns outlined above go mostly unnoticed and are inadequately addressed. The study underlines the necessity of the integration of the gender perspective into SALW legislative and policy frameworks and demonstrates the practical benefits of mainstreaming gender in policy response delivery. In order to achieve this, a practical toolkit aiming to facilitate the development of innovative solutions to the challenges at hand is accompanying the study.

The study was developed with the support of the European Union (EU) within Component 4 of the EU Support of the SEESAC Disarmament and Arms Control Activities in South East Europa (EUSAC) project, initiated through Council Decision 2013/730/CFSP. It is part of a series of knowledge products developed with the aim of strengthening SALW control implementation in SEE.