On April 12, UNLIREC,  together with the Ministry of Women of the Dominican Republic, held a virtual seminar on “Measures to prevent armed violence against women” in which more than 90 people from different sectors of government and civil society participated.  

One of the main purposes of the event was to warn about the contribution of firearms control in the prevention of violence against women, taking into account that the region presents alarming figures of intentional gender-based homicides of women and girls. In 2019 there were 4,615 femicides in 18 countries in the region, representing 12 of these crimes per day. The Dominican Republic has 1 of the 5 highest femicide rates in the region (2.4 for every 100,000 women).

In this regard, emphasis was made on the challenges involved in measuring femicide, especially in countries where it is has not yet been criminalized in the penal code. The importance of measuring the use of firearms in psychological, physical and sexual violence against women, which can be collected at the time of reporting these acts, was also highlighted.

The webinar also served to share the main findings and recommendations of UNLIREC’s Normative Study: Making the link between norms on violence against women and small arms control and regulation norms. The importance of contemplating the suspension and revocation of firearms licences in cases of gender-based violence, as well as the seizure and confiscation of these weapons, since they represent a danger to women, were also noted. Likewise, it was highlighted how important it is to analyze the suitability of the applicant for a firearms license, not only based on the absence of a criminal record, but also on a risk profile of the candidate.

The Dominican Republic provided statistics on femicides and homicides committed against women in the country, results of the National Household Survey, the registry of complaints of violence against women, as well as the results of various studies of national scope that point to the prevalence of gender stereotypes and mandates that reproduce violence against women.

In this context, the Ministry of Women has presented the Strategic Plan “For a Life Free of Violence toward Women, Adolescents and Girls” which includes different strategic axes – prevention, care, punishment, reparation, legal framework and coordination – as well as the formation of an intersectoral cabinet chaired by the Ministry of Women and composed of different Ministries and state agencies: Interior, Defence, Health, Education, Youth, Labour, Economy, National Police, Attorney General’s Office, National Statistics Office.

In addition to the intersectoral approach, the inclusion of representatives of civil society organizations and universities is noteworthy.

The event concluded with the participation of the audience, who were interested in how to transfer this work at the educational level, especially in schools, work at the local level, legal assistance to women victims of violence, and on the next steps to follow.  

The activity was made possible thanks to the support of the European Union within the framework of the project “Supporting gender mainstreamed policies, programmes and actions in the fight against small arms trafficking and misuse, in line with the Women, Peace and Security agenda”.