Strengthening Police Response to Gender-based Violence
Strengthening Police Response to Gender-based Violence
Experience sharing in mobilizing the police to help address gender-based violence

Challenges

Socio-cultural factors present challenges in working with uniformed services, especially in the context of gender-based violence (GBV). In Bangladesh, there is an overall shortage of female police officers, which also limits the number that can be deployed to Women’s Help Desks (WHDs). Women report feeling uncomfortable accessing GBV services managed by male police officers. There are also preconceptions in local communities stigmatizing women seen accessing these services at police stations as “not good women”.  Recently, this project lost momentum due to the lack of initiative on the part of the Bangladesh police in replicating the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in police stations across the country. While advocacy efforts continue with the Bangladesh Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) to deploy more women officers to the WHDs and to replicate the SOPs, progress has been slow. 

Towards a Solution

Based on available information, the Bangladesh Police identified the Philippines as the most relevant country to learn from when it comes to GBV services being provided to survivors.  The two countries exchanged information which eventually led to the establishment of this South-South cooperation initiative with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country offices. This project contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality), as well as to the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) Priority Area 5 (Human and social development). 

It was agreed by both country offices that an in-country visit should be organized to get first-hand knowledge about the experience with the police in both countries. In September 2019 a team of six members from the Bangladesh Police, MoHA and UNFPA undertook a six-day visit to the Philippines. The team observed Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) activities, reviewed relevant documents, and engaged with WCPD officers. Of particular interest to the Bangladeshi group were the experience of Philippine police officers as first responders in handling GBV cases, the management of GBV data through its Management Information System software, and the way cases are handled from the community up to the national level.  

The Bangladesh initiative titled ‘Sustainable initiatives to protect women and girls from GBV (STOP-GBV)’ is being implemented in 51 Police Stations, in four districts, including the Dhaka metropolitan area. The project aims to increase the availability of information about GBV services and to address other harmful practices. Specifically, it aims ensure a women-friendly environment at WHDs by deploying additional women police officers to run them, following SOPs developed by the Bangladesh Police and to replicate the WHD model in all 659 police stations throughout the country.  As part of this initiative, there were also efforts to explore collaboration opportunities with other neighbouring countries such as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. 

Contact Information

Ms. Parvin Rumana, Project Technical Officer-MoHA/Gender, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Bangladesh

Countries involved

Bangladesh, Philippines

Supported by

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Implementing Entities

Bangladesh Police, Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA)

Project Status

Completed

Project Period

2017 - 2020

Primary SDG

03 - Good Health and Well-being

Secondary SDGs

04 - Quality Education, 05 - Gender Equality, 16 - Peace and Justice Strong Institutions, 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

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