Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk (AFAR): Improving Victim Advocate Response: Rationale and Understanding laws (Part 1)

Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk (AFAR): Improving Victim Advocate Response: Rationale and Understanding laws (Part 1)
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-09-08
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk
Unit 2Transcript: Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk
Unit 3Workbook: Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk
Unit 4Recording: Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk

Victim advocates go through different types of training to be able to provide the most victim-centric and trauma-informed service to the clients they work with. One aspect that isn’t being given as much attention in this field that is bound to make a massive impact in ensuring victim safety is firearm awareness and risk. This session explores the intersection between intimate partner violence (IPV) and firearms and the value of firearm awareness for advocates and IPV victims.

Leading the discussion is Dr. Elizabeth “Gizzy” Gray. She developed the Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk (AFAR) training. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addictions Counselor, and a Credentialed Advocate with experience in topics like mental health, suicidality, and intimate partner violence.

Specifics of the course include:

  • The rationale behind the development of the AFAR training.
  • Statistics that demonstrate the prevalence, severity, intersection, and risks of IPV and firearms.
  • The concept of coercive control and how firearms are used by abusers to control and intimidate their victims.
  • Non-fatal gun use that still creates the same coercive control effects and impacts to victims.
  • Historical overview of federal gun laws, mandated prohibitions, and amendments that reduced access to firearms of specific legal segments.
  • Data that illustrate how reducing access makes a difference in terms of gun-related homicide and suicide cases.
  • The issues that law enforcement and advocates encounter due to the inconsistency of federal with state law as well as jurisdictional mandates.
  • The importance of victim advocates to familiarize themselves with the different legal definitions and scope of firearm prohibitions in state gun laws.
  • The boyfriend loophole that requires the abuser to cohabitate or have a child in common with the victims to be prevented from accessing firearms, therefore, allowing abusers who are in a dating relationship with their victim to circumvent the system.
  • Gun law information and discussions that advocates, law enforcement, and the court must look into to better serve their clients.
  • Resources available for advocates to better familiarize themselves with firearms, firearms safety, and managing DV cases that involve firearms.
  • The potential tragic outcomes when an abuser has a firearm at home for the victim, the abuser, and everyone else in the household.
  • The parallelism between suicide and IPV in terms of factors that increase the likelihood for both, firearms accessibility and risk, symptoms, and being a public health concern.
  • A rundown of the most common barriers preventing victims from seeking help and accessing services.
  • Resources to refer to to better equip advocates with know-how on suicide with a firearm.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • How to get comfortable with talking about and handling guns.
  • Approaches for victims whose spouses are part of law enforcement or military service.



Other Webinars with this Speaker:


Or click here to view and register for other upcoming Victim Assistance webinars and recordings on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts



Audience Comments

  • “Amazing and education webinar!! Many thanks.” — Mery
  • “I really appreciated the connections made between IP, firearms, and suicide. Valuable information backed up with statistics.” — Zoe
  • “A very good topic as advocates to know about guns, since everyone seems to have guns in today’s world — Monique
  • Good information, I once again just wish it was a bit longer.” — Russell
  • “Relevant Topic.” — Robert
  • “The connection between IPV and Suicide, refresher on stats/data information around the subject. This is probably one of the best presentations I have seen done by JCH. Thank you!” — Nita
  • “The connections between IPV and Suicide were very compelling. I also got a lot of good information about legislation and the boyfriend loophole. I am looking forward to the second part.” — Marsha




NACP and D-SAACP Advocates can earn 1 CEU by attending this webinar through the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)® and the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP).  Founded in 1975, the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States and is the recognized leader in victim advocacy, education and credentialing.  To learn more about NOVA, visit




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