Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Guns and Domestic Violence: A Case from CVAC's Files

In June, following the shooting of Rep. Scalise and several others, we posted here about the connection between mass shootings and domestic violence. In the wake of another mass shooting by a perpetrator with a history of domestic violence, we felt it was important to share a case from our files to illustrate how our advocates can intervene when an domestic abuser is known to have guns.

Victoria* filed for an order of protection against her abuser alleging both physical and emotional abuse. She shared with her Court Order of Protection Assistance (COPA) advocate that her abuser had threatened to shoot her. Victoria was granted an ex parte and the abuser was served with the temporary order. The next day Victoria’s advocate was notified by a gun shop that Victoria’s abuser had purchased a hand gun. This was made possible through a partnership with the St. Louis City Sheriff’s Office. In Missouri, such a purchase while the Order of Protection is pending is still legal. 

Once notified, Victoria's advocate contacted the victim to warn her of the purchase and to safety plan with her. She communicated that she no longer felt safe residing in the city and would be going to stay with relatives in the county. Victoria’s advocate was able to communicate her concerns to one of the St. Louis City Police detectives. The Domestic Violence Intervention Partnership (DVIP) advocate in the police department got involved in Victoria's case, as well. 

Upon losing communication with the victim, her advocates became very concerned for her safety. The DVIP advocate sent a police officer to the victim’s relatives’ home to check on her safety. Victoria was ultimately granted a full order of protection and the abuser was ordered to surrender his firearm to the local police department. She also began seeing a counselor at CVAC.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, CVAC's hotline is 314-652-3623.

*name and some details have been changed to protect the victim's privacy