From 19-30 April 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin American and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Argentine Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity and the Women’s Office from Argentina’s Supreme Court, delivered a Specialized Course on Firearms Investigations from a Gender Perspective (FIGP).

The course, as well as helping to sensitize participants on the importance of the gender perspective in tackling crimes committed with firearms, strengthens the technical knowledge of the scientific method of criminal investigation and interinstitutional cooperation in these fields.

More than 30 officials from different institutions working at the scene of investigation and in forensic laboratories, as well as in the treatment of victims of gender-based violence and femicide and their families, were trained.

The diverse group of participants, comprised of police officers, criminologists and others, emphasized one of FIGP’s objectives: strengthening staff coordination and cooperation in order to optimize individual and collective efforts to tackle crimes related to violence against women and firearms.

The course was carried out virtually and was separated into six interactive conferences, in which participants could present their experiences and talk to UNLIREC instructors. The conferences addressed theoretical and technical aspects of criminal investigation and the way in which the gender perspective as a method of analysis helps us to formulate stereotypes, which were reviewed to ensure that they are based on appropriate theory. Case studies were conducted to highlight the absence of a gender perspective, which violates the rights of victims and their families.

During the training, emphasis was placed on the use of firearms to commit different types of violence against women, not only as a murder weapon, but also as a means to threaten, intimidate and coerce. The training also highlighted the importance of the correct management of a crime scene and of firearms as physical evidence in investigations from a gender perspective. The course shared good practices with participants and urged them to strengthen interaction and cooperation across the different stages of judicial investigation, to optimize individual and collective efforts to tackle cases of gender-based violence. This helps to reduce levels of impunity and improves justice and security institutions.

This course forms part of the ‘Support for the integration of the gender perspective in politics, programmes and action in the fight against trafficking and the misuse of small arms’ project, funded by the European Union.