Violence Issues to Watch
The AAUW member-adopted Biennial Action Priorities advocates “freedom from violence and fear of violence in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.”
The History of AAUW's Position on Gun Violence Prevention
NYS Fact Sheet: Protecting Women From Gun Violence
Updated: January 29, 2015
- Serving Life for Surviving Abuse - Misconceptions about domestic violence can turn the justice system against survivors, often with devastating results. The Sentencing Project reported that same year that there are over 5,300 women nationally serving life and life without parole sentences, reflecting an increase of about 14 percent since 2008. About 300 of these women were sentenced to LWOP, which means that California's prisons alone contain about half of America's female inmates serving LWOP sentences. While there's no exact count of how many women in prison have been physically or sexually abused, most place the odds around 85 to 90 percent-disproportionately high compared to men. As the length of sentence increases, so do the odds that a woman has been abused. Among all women in prison, women who have been sentenced to LWOP sentences are the most likely to have been abused, more so than women serving non-life sentences and men serving life sentences, said Professor Margaret Leigey, a criminologist at The College of New Jersey who has studied LWOP sentencing.
- Fight on Guns Is Being Taken to State Ballots - The gun control movement, blocked in Congress and facing mounting losses in federal elections, is tweaking its name, refining its goals and using the same-sex marriage movement as a model to take the fight to voters on the state level. The advocacy groups have recast their cause as a public health and safety movement, and are homing in on areas where polling has shown voter support, like expanded background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of people with domestic violence convictions, restraining orders or mental illnesses.
- Increasingly Dangerous Guns Endanger US Communities - As Tom Diaz reports in The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It, the NRA, in concert with gun manufacturers and conservative advocates of law and order, has successfully stoked fear of crime and terrorism to ramp up domestic weapons sales. In fact, Diaz reports that during the last decade, more than 30,000 US residents a year have died because of guns.
- NFL toughens policy addressing assault and domestic violence - NFL teams have unanimously endorsed a new personal conduct policy for all NFL employees after discussions that included experts on domestic violence and sexual assault. The new measures include a more extensive list of prohibited conduct, independent investigative procedures, and specific criteria on paid leave for an individual charged with a violent crime.
- Military-Style Technology Finds Way Into School District Safety Measures - Engineers from a company called Shooter Detection Systems have installed infrared sensors and microphones that can pick up the sound of gunfire and immediately notify school and law enforcement officials where and when it has occurred. It was installed free of charge, and school officials were hoping they could find the money to put the system, which costs between $20,000 and $100,000, into more schools.
- Parents More Likely Than Their Children to Consider Schools Safe, Study Finds - Parents are more likely than their children to answer favorably when asked if their children's schools are safe, a study recently found. In all, 96 percent of parents and 87 percent of students in analyzed data answered questions about school safety favorably. The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey found a trend of students feeling less safe at school. In 1993, 4.4 percent of students surveyed reported they had "not gone to school on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey because they felt they would be unsafe at school or on their way to or from school." That percentage has trended steadily upward, reaching 7.1 percent in 2013.
- Black Friday is America's premier gun-buying day - Of the 10 days on which the FBI has conducted the most background checks since December 1998, two are the last two Black Fridays. The number of background check requests on Black Friday last year was over twice that of a normal day in 2013 - and 2013 was one of the busiest years in history for background checks, thanks to people making purchases as Congress debated new gun restrictions last spring.
- New York sees drop in gun death rate - According to a recent report by the Violence Policy Center, New York state's gun death rate dropped to 4.99 per 100,000 persons in 2012, as opposed to 2011's rate of 5.11 per 100,000 residents. This moves New York to the number four spot behind Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Massachusetts as the states with the lowest number of gun deaths per capita.
- New Report: 1.7 Million Kids Live in Homes with Unlocked Guns - More than 1.7 million children live in homes with unlocked, loaded guns in America, the gun-control group's research has found. Its new report, " The Truth About Kids & Guns," shows that children are more likely to be killed by a gun in a home than anywhere else. The findings suggest that America's epidemic of gun violence is continuing unabated. Children are more likely to be killed by a gun at home than anywhere else.
- What's the Deadliest Day of the Week in Your State for Gun Violence? - In 20 states, including New York, Sunday is the deadliest day.
- Is Your State Acting To #ProtectAllWomen? - Five women are murdered with a gun in the United States every day, most often by an intimate partner. From 2001 to 2012, 6,410 women were murdered in this country by an intimate partner using a gun-more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. A key factor in reducing murders of women is, therefore, preventing dangerous domestic abusers from having easy access to guns.
- Research highlights extent, effects of school violence in U.S. - Six percent of U.S. children and youth missed a day of school over the course of a year because they were the victim of violence or abuse at school. "This study really highlights the way school violence can interfere with learning," says the lead author. "Too many kids are missing school because they do not feel safe."
- New York State's gun death rate dipped to 4.99 per 100,000, according to a recent report by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) that analyzed 2012 data. New York again has the nation's fourth lowest gun death rate, declining from 2011's rate of 5.11. The VPC report affirmed yet again that states with strong gun laws and low gun ownership have the lowest rates of gun deaths.
- Immersed in violence: How 3-D gaming affects video game players - Playing violent video games in 3-D makes everything seem more real - and that may have troubling consequences for players, a new study reveals. Researchers found that people who played violent video games in 3-D showed more evidence of anger afterward than did people who played using traditional 2-D systems -- even those with large screens.
- Victims of Domestic Violence Getting Longer Prison Sentences Than Their Childs' Abuser? - How 'failure to protect' laws are locking up mothers whose partners commit child abuse. Buzzfeed found 28 mothers and domestic violence victims in 11 states who were sent to prison for at least 10 years for failing to protect their children from abuse.
- Research highlights extent, effects of school violence in U.S. - Six percent of U.S. children and youth missed a day of school over the course of a year because they were the victim of violence or abuse at school. "This study really highlights the way school violence can interfere with learning," says the lead author. "Too many kids are missing school because they do not feel safe." "This study really highlights the way school violence can interfere with learning," says lead author David Finkelhor, professor of sociology and director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) at UNH. "Too many kids are missing school because they do not feel safe."
- Prosecutors to meet for gun-violence summit - Prosecutors from around the country are gathering to talk about preventing gun violence, in what's billed as the first summit of its kind in Atlanta. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer founded a group called Prosecutors Against Gun Violence last month. They've said it's a non-partisan effort to share ideas and advocate for prosecutorial and policy approaches to addressing the issue.
- The U.S. Is Number One -- But in What? - The country is tops when it comes to violence and weapons exports but ranks below in healthcare and education. United States has more guns and gun-related deaths than any other country. A study released in late 2013 reported that the United States had 88 guns for every 100 people, and 40 gun-related deaths for every 400,000 people?the most of any of the 27 economically developed countries surveyed. By contrast, in Britain there were 6 guns per 100 people and 1 gun-related death per 400,000 people.
- FBI Report: 160 Mass Shootings, 100 Dead Since 2000 - The number of shootings in which a gunman wounds or kills multiple people has increased dramatically in recent years, with the majority of attacks in the last decade occurring at a business or a school, according to an FBI report. The study focused on 160 "active shooter incidents" between 2000 and 2013. Those are typically defined as cases in which a gunman in an attack shoots or attempts to shoot people in a populated area.
- Domestic Violence at Least as Common Among Same-Sex Partners as Other Couples, Study Finds - Domestic violence is as at least as prevalent among same-sex couples as it is among heterosexual couples, if not more so, according to study in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.
- Lawmakers Urge Administration, VA To Provide Disability Payments to More Survivors of Military Sexual Assault - Several senators in a letter to President Obama called for the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue a rule enabling more survivors of military sexual violence to receive disability compensation for mental health issues related to the assaults.
- Holder announces initiative to study racial bias, reduce police-community tensions - Amid the Justice Department's ongoing criminal investigation into last month's police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced a new federal initiative Thursday to study racial bias and build trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
- Children's Rights Groups Urge Defense Program to Stop Giving School Cops Military Hardware - More than 20 national education and civil rights advocates sent a letter to Department of Defense officials, urging them to stop giving US school police departments surplus military hardware, including assault-style rifles and armored vehicles.
- One in five men reports violence toward intimate partners - One in five men in the U.S. reports violence towards their spouse or significant other, says a new nationally-representative study by the University of Michigan. Domestic violence has become a growing health concern. In the U.S. each year, roughly 320,000 outpatient health visits and 1,200 deaths among women are due to intimate partner violence, and $8.3 billion is spent in related medical and mental health services alone.
- How the Country Has Changed Under the Violence Against Women Act - The 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act - landmark legislation that was signed into law by President Clinton on September 13, 1994 - comes at a particularly prescient moment, as the country is engaged in a national conversation about the NFL's responsibility to adequately respond to incidences of domestic abuse perpetrated by its football players."
- CDC Surveys Sheds Light on Prevalence of Sexual Violence in U.S. - About 19% of women and 2% of men in the U.S. have been raped at some point in their lives, while many more have experienced other forms of sexual violence, according to a recent CDC report.
- Campus police arming with military surplus - The U.S. Department of Defense's 1033 program has supplied campus police from at least 117 colleges and universities with military surplus equipment, including modified grenade launchers, M-16 assault rifles, 12-gauge shotguns, knives, and even mine-resistant vehicles and armored trucks. The program has allowed 8,000 police departments, those on campuses included, to acquire the military equipment for free since 1998 - they only have to pay for shipping.
- San Diego's School District Now Has a Military-Grade Armored Truck - The school district's police department recently acquired a 14-ton mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or an M-RAP, caused a stir in San Diego. The school district's police force, which employs real cops but is separate from the city's police department, received the truck for free from the same federal program that gave military equipment to the Ferguson, Missouri police and other cities around the country. The district spent $5,000 shipping the thing from Texas.
- Poll: Parents Concerned About School Shootings, Unaware of Disaster Plans - Seventy percent of parents responding to a recent poll said they were at least somewhat concerned "about the risk their child faces from school shootings," and 35 percent were "very or extremely concerned," the poll found. But, while parents fear the effects of disasters at school, many of them are uninformed about schools' preparedness efforts, the report card says.
- Gaming vlogger Anita Sarkeesian is forced from home after receiving harrowing death threats - Anita Sarkeesian is a woman who points out sexism and misogyny in video games. Once again, she's the target of threats. Sarkeesian is the creator of Feminist Frequency, a Web site that analyzes patriarchy and misogyny in pop culture with a special focus on gaming.
- Enforcement of Gun Laws Hinges on Local Sheriffs' Interpretation of Second Amendment - With more states passing stronger gun control laws, rural sheriffs across the country are taking the meaning of their age-old role as defenders of the Constitution to a new level by protesting such restrictions.
- Uzi death at hands of 9-year-old reopens debate about children and guns - Both sides of gun-control issue weigh in on how young is too young to use firearms.
- People Aren't Buying Guns - In the recent quarter, Smith & Wesson (SWHC) sales dropped 23 percent, to $131.9 million, and profit plunged 45 percent, to $14.6 million, according to a report late yesterday. Long guns and "modern sporting rifles," in particular, lost favor among shooters, but handguns cooled off as well. Smith & Wesson shares slumped almost 15 percent on the news.
- After gun tragedies, Connecticut and Arizona take different paths - The differences reflect the wide divide separating Americans, with long-established gun cultures colliding with efforts to restrict gun ownership. Connecticut muscled through one of the most comprehensive packages of gun laws in the country. Arizona moved to make it easier to carry guns in public.
- Bill Gates Takes On the NRA - Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.
- In Compton, school police can use semiautomatic weapons - According to a new school board policy, the weapons are to be used "in response to situations that clearly evidence a need or potential need for superior firepower to be used against armed suspects." And: "Only those situations where the circumstances at hand are beyond the capabilities of the standard patrol sidearms (e.g., Long distances, suspects utilizing body armor, and/ or high powered, high capacity weapons) should be considered."
- Rolling Stone Magazine takes an in-depth look at America's Gun Violence Epidemic - Features include Gun Survivors Speak Out, How to Beat the NRA in 7 Not-So-Easy Steps and The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America.
- Gun control, gun rights advocates push dueling ballot measures in Washington - Voters in the state of Washington are confronted with two rival ballot initiatives pitting one side of the political spectrum against the other, in an irreconcilable clash of views. With gun debate heavyweights and big-name backers like Bill Gates entering the fray, the outcome of this standoff could have national implications.
- The Intersection of Gun Violence and Domestic Violence - Center for American Progress and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released additional fact sheets for 27 states providing detailed information about the scope of fatal domestic violence and the large role access to guns plays in that violence in each state. In many cases, the fact sheets highlight significant weaknesses and loopholes in state laws that continue to allow dangerous domestic abusers and stalkers to have easy access to guns.
- A National Disgrace: Violence Against Native Women - Violence against Native American and Alaska Native women is a national disgrace. The federal government has made some efforts to reduce that violence, but there is a long way to go before indigenous women are afforded their full civil rights.
- Court Upholds Florida Law That Punishes Doctors For Talking About Guns - Several years ago, the American Medical Association advised doctors to ask their patients about firearms and "educate patients to the dangers of firearms to children" in the name of public health. But doctors in Florida may be suppressed from giving this medical advice, now that a federal appeals court upheld a Florida law that became known as the "physician gag rule" because it punishes doctors for talking about guns.
- Shootings Redefine Beat of School Police Officers - At the annual meeting of the National Association of School Resource Officers, school-based officers crowded into multiple sessions on a theme hardly pondered by earlier generations, "the active shooter," and discussed the aggressive responses now being recommended by security experts and federal officials.
- The Horrifying Banality of Mass Shootings in America: 3 Shocking Facts About Gun Violence - According to a new interactive report from Everytown for Gun Safety, Americans have experienced about two mass shootings (involving four or more deaths) each month since January 2009. The report, which relies on FBI data and media reports from the last four years, exposes alarming trends in US gun violence. Here are some of the most striking statistics:
- 42% of mass shooters possessed their guns illegally because they were felons, domestic abusers, or were otherwise prohibited under federal law from having guns.
- 51% of mass shooting victims are women, while the shooters are nearly exclusively male.
- 57% of mass shootings are related to domestic violence, meaning the shooter killed a current or former partner or family member.
- One in six adolescents in the ER has experienced dating violence - Of adolescents visiting the emergency department for any reason, one in five girls and one in eight boys reported dating violence in the past year. According to a study, dating violence among adolescents was also strongly associated with alcohol, illicit drug use and depression.
- New gun control fight brewing in the Senate - Potential debate comes 15 months since gun rights legislation stalled on Capitol Hill.
- Bloomberg's gun group starts 2014 midterms strategy - The gun-control group founded by former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) will begin surveying all federal candidates in the 2014 midterm elections on gun issues Monday as it tries to become a political counterweight to the National Rifle Association.
- California and New Jersey Are Considering Gun Seizure Laws - Lawmakers in California and New Jersey are considering regulations similar to a Connecticut law that allows for the temporary seizure of guns when there's evidence that a person could be a danger to themselves or to others.
- 10 States Where Guns Are Most Likely, And Least Likely, To Kill People - New analyses show that where guns are plentiful, they get used. "The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates in 2011 were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana," the Violence Policy Center (VPC) said in its latest analysis of federal statistics. "Each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate in the nation was Rhode Island, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Each of these states has strong gun violence prevention laws and has a lower rate of gun ownership."
- Idaho State Arms Officers to Deal With New Gun Law - A new law took effect in Idaho Tuesday allowing people to carry guns on campuses -- a measure opposed by many faculty leaders and others. In response, Idaho State University -- for the first time -- armed its public safety officers with semi-automatic pistols.
Branch Homepage - Public Policy Issues to Watch