Armed Domestic Violence


Incidents involving victims who are known to the perpetrator.

Weapons used include shotguns, airguns, replica guns, imitation guns,BB guns and airsoft guns.  Perpetrators kill,  injure, threaten, intimidate, control or generate fear of violence to partners, ex partners, family members, neighbours, work colleagues or others known to the perpetrator.




In England and Wales 1 in 3 women killed by their husbands is shot with a weapon which is legally owned  – 64% of these murders involve licensed shotguns.

(Source Criminal Statistics England and Wales 2000 p 66 - 67)


Family killings are the only category of homicides where women outnumber men as victims. The trauma of threat is greater when a husband or partner has a gun and the presence of a firearm reduces a woman's capacity for resistance or escape.




The greatest risk of gun violence to women is in their own homes, and when a woman is killed at home it is her partner or male relative who is most likely to be the murderer, often with a prior history of domestic violence. 


A gun stored in the home increases the likelihood of those living there being involved in a gun accident, gun suicide, gun injury or gun homicide.  Guns available on impulse are used in response to traumatic situations, sometimes with tragic consequences.  Just because a gun is legally owned does not mean it is safe. 


Legal gun owners are not immune from emotional physical social, financial or relationship crises.


There is a tendency for domestic shootings to be treated as tragic but private incidents, yet they make up a significant proportion of all gun homicides in Great Britain. The possibility that guns kept in the home can be and are abused should never be ignored.


There have been a number of occasions when Police failed to respond adequately  to reports of threats being made by legal gun owners.  In some cases these failures have led to injuries, fatalities and suicides and have been the subject of criticism from families and Coroners.




Because "low powered" airguns can be bought relatively cheaply and easily and without any background checks on the criminal or medical history of the gun owner in England and Wales, they are the weapons of choice for perpetrators of domestic violence and those with a history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, mental illness, antisocial behaviour and violent behaviour.


Even when victims are not physically injured by shots from airguns the trauma of being threatened with a gun can have long term life changing consequences for adults and children who witness, or are involved in incidents of armed domestic violence. 


The immense financial and human cost of dealing with armed domestic violence  is met by Hospitals, General Practitioners, the Ambulance Service, Police, the Justice System, Local Authorities, Housing Organisations, Social Services and others, from funds provided by the public. 

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