As the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep people inside, many cities have seen an increase in domestic violence homicides this year — including Phoenix. According to the Phoenix Police Department, 44 murders were related to domestic violence in this year — accounting for an 175% increase from 2019. The department also noted that overall 70% of Phoenix homicide cases were by someone with a firearm.
Domestic violence and gun violence are inextricably linked, impacting millions of families and communities across the country. Guns exacerbate the power and control dynamic used by domestic abusers to inflict emotional abuse and exert coercive control over their victims — which is only worsened by conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic. Access to firearms makes domestic abusers five times more likely to kill their victims. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported an increase in traffic between March and May, and it predicted a continued increase throughout the end of year.
Next session, Arizona lawmakers should prioritize passing proven solutions to prevent domestic violence, including keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and increasing access to services for victims of gun violence.
Here’s more on domestic violence in Arizona:
- Arizona has experienced an increase in domestic violence calls during the coronavirus pandemic as gun sales continue to surge and social distancing continues. Many domestic violence victims are trapped with abusers who have easy access to guns, and that’s a deadly combination.
- From 2014 to 2018, 87 women were fatally shot by an intimate partner in Arizona. Nationally, women of color are victims of homicide at higher rates than white women, and over 55 percent of these killings are committed by an intimate partner.
- When domestic abusers have access to guns, the effects can be deadly — particularly for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native and Latina women, who experience higher rates of intimate partner violence and gun homicide, due to structural racism and underinvestment in these communities.
- The Arizona legislature adjourned the 2020 legislative session without action on bipartisan legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and it failed to address the rise of domestic violence in Arizona amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of moving a life-saving gun safety bill forward, Republicans in the legislature prioritized risky legislation that would jeopardize the safety of Arizonans for a second year in a row. Read more here.
More information about the intersection between domestic violence and gun violence here. More information on gun violence in Arizona is available here. To speak with a policy expert, Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteer, please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, available 24/7, for confidential assistance from a trained advocate. If you’re unable to speak safely via phone, you can chat online at thehotline.org.