Regional consultations on practical tools to prevent the misuse of firearms in gender-based violence

From 21 November to 14 December 2023, ten consultative meetings were held in Tirana, Podgorica, Skopje, Sarajevo, and Pristina with 35 members of the working groups to discuss the structure and content of draft practical tools to prevent the misuse of firearms in gender-based violence and propose amendments to ensure their practical application. 

The tools will be finalized during 2024 and will be followed by training of relevant police officers on their use.

SEESAC continued to support authorities in the Western Balkans in combating and preventing the misuse of firearms in domestic violence. To this end, in 2022 SEESAC initiated the development of a Tool to Address the Risks related to the Presence of Firearms in Domestic Violence and a Tool for Gender-sensitive Firearm License Approval and the Regional Analysis of the Misuse of Firearms in Domestic Violence. The aim of the tools is to develop a set of practical checklists to assist police officers in preventing the misuse of firearms both when responding to domestic violence and when approving the firearms licenses.

Furthermore, two regional working groups composed of representatives of law enforcement agencies were established in 2022 to ensure that the experience of relevant professionals was taken into account in the development of the tools.

For this purpose the extensive regional process in which ten focus group discussions with 68 police officers and 5 focus group discussions with 17 representatives of women’s organizations were held across the region in March and April 2023 to obtain initial inputs for tools.

From May to November 2023, on the basis of such a broad evidence base, SEESAC developed the draft tools that set the structure and the content and outline the main steps to be taken to ensure a gender-responsive approach to license approval and prevent the misuse of firearms in domestic violence through adequate risk assessment.

These activities were organized within the scope of SEESAC’s broader work on strengthening the response to factors fueling the demand and misuse of firearms in the Western Balkans within the Support for Enhancing the Fight Against the Illegal Possession, Misuse, and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in the Western Balkans project, funded by the European Union through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II).