One Year Later: Reflections on Disarm Domestic Violence’s Impact
One year ago, in October 2018, Disarm Domestic Violence (Disarm DV) launched. Since then, the site has been a valuable tool for a variety of individuals. As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to a close, three of Disarm Domestic Violence’s founding partners reflect on what the site has accomplished in its first year and the progress we still must make.
- What do you think has been Disarm DV’s greatest success in the last year?
Rachel Graber, Director of Public Policy at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Since Disarm Domestic Violence launched a year ago, thousands of people have used it to find vital information about state domestic violence-related firearms laws and how those laws can help protect them. Legislative drafters have also used the site to help guide the development of state and federal bills.
Kelly Roskam, Senior Director of Law and Policy at the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence: In my opinion, Disarm DV’s greatest success in the last year has been legislative offices using the site, comparing their state to neighboring states, seeing the gaps in their state’s laws and considering, or actually doing something about it.
Kristen Ellingboe, Communications Manager at the Alliance for Gun Responsibility: Disarm DV’s greatest success was its first: launching! Making so much information digestible for the people who need it, from survivors to advocates, was a huge accomplishment that we are proud to have been a part of.
2. What questions do people still have about Disarm DV?
Rachel Graber: The primary question people asked when we did a webinar on Disarm Domestic Violence was about full faith and credit for protective orders. For reference, the Violence Against Women Act requires all states to give full faith and credit to protective orders issued by other states — that is, a protective order in one state is also valid in all other states, and the respondent must abide by its terms.
Kelly Roskam: I think many people still don’t know what Disarm DV is. We still have quite a bit of work to do to let people know that this resource providing state-by-state domestic violence and firearm law information is available.
Kristen Ellingboe: Is the site kept updated as states make changes to their laws? And the answer is yes!
3. Have you heard any specific success stories about people using the site?
Rachel Graber: Although I haven’t heard from advocates or survivors, Senate staff have told me how helpful it’s been for them.
Kelly Roskam: I have been at conferences or meetings where folks working in the field have already heard about and are using the site to inform them about domestic violence and firearms laws in their state.
Kristen Ellingboe: We have heard from many of our law enforcement partners that they use Disarm DV to research what laws other states have on the books around domestic violence protection orders and firearm surrender.
4. What do people still need to learn about guns, domestic violence, and firearm removal?
Kelly Roskam: People still need to learn that implementation of firearm removal laws is critical. The work does not stop when a law is passed — the law promises protection, and proper implementation is vital to live up to that promise.
Kristen Ellingboe: There is still more to be done to raise awareness about domestic violence firearms removal — both in terms of ensuring that regular people know that domestic violence restraints and convictions can, in many circumstances, result in firearm surrender orders and in terms of ensuring that law enforcement understand their responsibility in enforcing these orders.
5. Where do you hope Disarm DV is at this time next year?
Rachel Graber: I hope that Disarm Domestic Violence will have important information about specific communities, full faith and credit, and a resource page.
Kelly Roskam: I hope that a year from now Disarm DV is the go to resource for judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, advocates, legislators, and survivors wishing to learn more about domestic violence and firearms laws.
Kristen Ellingboe: We would love to see allies inside and outside the domestic violence and gun violence prevention spaces sharing Disarm DV as a go-to resource for anyone looking for answers to questions about laws addressing the intersection of guns and domestic violence.
Learn more about Disarm Domestic Violence at www.disarmdv.org.