Amnesty report on US gun violence puts focus on Christchurch

It's hoped the Government will learn from a scathing report into the United States' response to gun violence. 

Scars of Survival: Gun Violence and Barriers to Reparation in the USA highlights how bad policy and a lack of support services cause years of further trauma and pain.

It found some survivors were forced to rack up huge debts to pay for their medical care, while others get virtually nothing thanks to complex bureaucracies.

"This is particularly the case for gunshot survivors living in unstable environments who may be unused to navigating a fragmented and complicated healthcare system," the report said.

"They are often simultaneously trying to deal with enormous changes in their health, family lives, jobs or job prospects, because of being shot."

Amnesty says the US government is failing its human rights obligations by failing to adequately regulate firearms and look after the victims.

Spokesperson Meg de Ronde says victims of the Christchurch attacks need to have ongoing care for injuries, trauma and payments for lost wages.

"It's really important that the Government is thinking about this in the long-term, and not just concentrating on the immediate needs in the months [after the attack]."

She hopes our Government is focusing on the long-term impacts of gun violence, with ongoing care for injuries, trauma and payments for lost wages.

"We want to make sure there's a human right lens being applied."

Miami teenager Megan Hobson told Amnesty she was 16 when she got caught up in crossfire in 2012. She now lives with serious health conditions, including difficulty walking and complications caused by bullet fragments in her uterus.

She is still in debt.

"I was a victim, I had nothing to do with [it]. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"In the USA, there are no targeted programmes to provide for the rehabilitation needs of gunshot survivors, meaning they have to seek medical and psychological care through the general health system," Amnesty's report said. "This poses numerous economic and bureaucratic obstacles, exacerbated by trauma and physical pain.  

De Ronde says the response needs to continue long after the event.

"What we think is important is the Government is considering the human rights of victims caught up in gun violence over a long period of time, making sure they have access to all of the healthcare, psychological help and ongoing support that they need."