YWCA tells Congress: Keep Guns from Abusers

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YWCA tells Congress: Keep Guns from Abusers

Abusers with Guns are Fives Times as Likely to Kill

For Immediate Release
June 3, 2015
Media Contact: James Grant, james@jamesgrantpr.com | (917) 626-1300

Karolina Szatkowski of YWCA Union County, Leader Nancy Pelosi, 
and Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D. CEO of YWCA USA at Tuesday’s hearing

The YWCA is on Capitol Hill this week talking with Congress about critical legislation to protect victims of domestic violence from gun violence. On Tuesday, June 2nd, YWCA Union County Program Director, Karolina Szatkowski, gave testimony at a Steering and Policy Committee hearing in support of legislation to strengthen laws protecting domestic violence victims. This Thursday, June 4th, hundreds of YWCA staff, board, and volunteers from communities across the country will participate in their annual Capitol Hill Day and advocate for the passage of the Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Protection Act.

“As one of the largest providers of domestic violence services in the country, we know all too well that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when she takes steps to leave her abuser,” said Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., YWCA USA CEO, “That is why we feel so strongly about ensuring that firearms are removed from the hands of all abusers as soon as a protective order is filed.”

When the abuser has access to firearms, the likelihood that the situation will turn deadly increases five-fold. In fact, women in the United States are 11 times more likely to be shot and killed by a current or former intimate partner than women in any other developed country. For this reason, YWCA advocates believe it is critical that firearms are removed from the perpetrator when any type of protective order is filed.
Karolina Szatkowski, who provides direct services to domestic violence victims at YWCA Union County, shared the tragic stories of two New Jersey women who were murdered by their ex-partners.

“Women are more likely to be killed by their intimate partners than by any other assailant,” Karolina told the congressional committee, “In the United States, it is an abuser’s access to guns that makes this possible.” She told the many congressional representatives in attendance, “You have the power to change that.”

The YWCA invites all who want to end violence against women to join them in taking action this Thursday by contacting Members of Congress and telling them to co-sponsor the Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Protection Act. This bill will close the loopholes in current federal law that allows abusers to gain access to firearms. To learn more visit www.ywca.org and click ACT!