This is the second installment of the Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk (AFAR) webinar series. The first session zeroed in on the impetus behind creating the AFAR training, gun laws, and legal factors as well as loopholes surrounding firearms, the impact of reduced access to gun violence, and the intersection of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), suicide and mass shootings.
Continuing the discussion is Dr. Elizabeth “Gizzy” Gray, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addictions Counselor, and a Credentialed Advocate with experience in topics like mental health, suicidality, and intimate partner violence. She is the developer of the Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk (AFAR) training.
Specifics of her discussion include:
- A brief recap of the first session particularly looking at:
- The value in talking about firearms within IPV cases and the coercive control dynamics within.
- Guns laws and competencies to familiarize with.
- The parallelism between suicide and IPV.
- Challenges from different professions when it comes to talking about firearms, its risks, and gun safety.
- Case studies were presented to get advocates to reflect on their thoughts, biases, and concerns when talking about firearms.
- Navigating client confidentiality and one’s responsibilities to report abuse and violence as mandated by law.
- Ensuring that firearm conversations are victim-centered and focused on developing a plan to keep them safe.
- The fundamental goal of a firearm conversation and the different options toward this goal.
- The benefits of providing as many options as possible, some of which can end up as compromises, to the victim to ensure that the goal is accomplished and the risk is reduced.
- Considerations regarding safe storage that takes into account the victim/victim’s family/offender’s circumstances, perceptions, and cultural concerns.
- The reality that these conversations can take time before the victim and advocate can finally arrive at an agreeable solution and plan.
- Factors to be mindful of regarding who the firearms will be transferred to/storing the firearms based on federal law as well as state or jurisdictional regulations.
- The importance of upholding victim autonomy and empowering them while building trust and assessing threats throughout the firearm conversation and safety planning.
- Focusing on community or family safety if the victim isn’t as forthcoming during the conversation.
- Conversation starters, talking points, guiding questions, and pointers to help lessen the anxiety, hone in on the risk and safety components, and have a productive firearms conversation.
- Tools to help advocates in being competent and comfortable having firearms conversations with clients.
- The value of self-care given the gravity of the situations advocates tend to work with.
Questions from the webinar attendees are about:
- What CCRs are.
- Duty to report potential violence, threats, and coercion if done in the presence of children.
- Application of federal gun law to Indian country.
- How firearms conversations can result in enhanced charges.
- Integrating firearms conversations into high-risk teams.
- Practicing firearms conversations through role-playing.
Other Webinars with this Speaker:
- Sept 8: Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk (AFAR): Improving the Victim Advocate Response: Rationale and Understanding laws (Part 1)
- Oct 11: Advocacy for Firearm Awareness and Risk (AFAR): Improving the Victim Advocate Response: Having the Conversation (Part 2) (this webinar)
Resources and Handouts
- The discussion around cultural competency regarding guns, especially in rural counties where they are used to hunt food. I definitely want to share this information with others in our agency, and add it to our cultural competencies training.” — Rachel
- “I learned how important it is to have the conversation about guns in the home. I also learned how to broach the subject in a way that minimizes more trauma to the victim. Great info.” — Tracee
- “VERY interesting! Thanks for the statistics too. Please thank the presenter for sharing her knowledge and time.” — Rose
- “The most valuable thing I was reminded of is the survivor/client is always the expert on their own safety. This was a good reminder. When the topic of firearms isn’t presented by the client, how to go about striking up that topic would have been helpful. Not all clients are IPV victims/survivors, so working with clients who may be dealing with a stalking situation, or some other kind of potential crime would have been helpful.” — Sara
- “I learned that it is important to check with local guns about how to turn in guns or transfer ownership. I also learned that it is important to ask the victim what weapons are in the home and then bring up guns and other weapons.” — Laura
- “This was right on time for me. I was working on case with a lot of guns in the home.” — Mariam
- “How to even approach the topic of firearms with survivors, I had never considered how someone being supportive of using fire arms might react to an advocate discussing the dangers of such.” — Michelle
- “This was a very interesting and informative webinar. With gun violence on the rise in my city hearing how to approach these conversations and discussions with my clients and victims was helpful. Thank you.” — Kimberly
- “Honestly, just facing the responsibility of getting better at safety planning discussions around firearms (just like we should be competent in discussing, for example, client suicidal ideation). I have received no substantial trainings in this area in many years as an advocate, and just emailed my supervisor that we should discuss this more as an agency.” — Julie
- “Very good speaker” — John
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 trynova.org.