This is according to researcher Lisa Vetten, who addressed an international conference in Durban this weekend organized by the Institute for Security Studies and aimed at sharing strategies to improve firearm controls.
A quarter of women applying for protection orders against abusive partners at two courts in Gauteng mentioned that their partners had guns, yet the courts only ordered these to be removed in 2% of cases, said Vetten, who works for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.
‘The low number of guns removed is a cause for concern, as guns were found to be the leading cause of death for women killed by their intimate male partners in both a Gauteng intimate femicide study and a national study of female homicide,’ she said.
In the majority of cases, the guns were legally owned, said Vetten, who called for magistrates to be trained ‘around the need to remove guns in cases of domestic violence’.
Other speakers shared the effects of gun-related violence on their countries.
In El Salvador, hospital costs to treat those injured by guns swallowed a massive seven percent of the country’s health budget. Gun violence cost Colombia and Brazil combined $100-million each year in medical costs to treat those injured alone.
But despite the high costs, Brazilians voting in a referendum late last year overwhelmingly rejected the proposal that the sale of guns and ammunition to civilians should be prohibited.
The conference was held as a precursor to the eighth World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, which began in Durban on Sunday (2 April) night.