What do we want to know?
This systematic review is focused on synthesising the existing evidence on effectiveness of different ‘gender-responsive policing’ (GRP) interventions designed to enhance confidence and satisfaction in policing services and reduce risk of violence against women in low and middle income countries.
Who wants to know and why?
This review provides information about different GRP initiatives and assessment of their impact, which would be helpful in designing and evaluation of GRP interventions. This information is important for stakeholders such as police training institutions, civil society organizations working with community and policing institutions, policy makers and researchers. The in-depth focus on South Asia and particularly on Pakistan is helpful to understand the contextual information about different interventions implemented in these settings.
What did we find?
The findings of this systematic review are derived from 36 articles which evaluated various GRP interventions such as community policing, training of police personnel, women police stations, special cells/units and one stop centers.
Policing initiatives that involve communities in their activities (community policing) appears to be effective in enhancing the feeling of safety and security of the people, especially the women. Training of police personnel seems to be the most commonly used GRP intervention, often in combination with other interventions. Training mostly included creating awareness and sensitization on various issues regarding GBV, training on how to receive, investigate and prosecute cases of sexual violence and GBV, how to support victims, training on GBV related policies and laws, human rights, etc. Training appears to be effective in reducing violence against female sex workers, particularly in reducing police arrests and improving fair treatment by police. Women Police Stations (WPS) are specialized police stations staffed by women police. Women who accessed WPS reported a reduction in physical violence by the husband due to intervention from women police. The specialized police units were established to improve the investigation and prosecution of either sexual or gender based violence and resulted in increased reporting of cases and reduction in violence against women. One Stop Centers are designed to meet the needs of men, women and children who have experienced physical, sexual/psychological violence and abuse. They help in improving access to various services at one place.
There were also several implementation challenges reported such as lack of funds, lack of skilled staff, patriarchal socio-cultural norms, religious beliefs that affect the effectiveness of GRP interventions.
What are the conclusions?
The majority of the literature evaluating GRP interventions was qualitative with few cross sectional surveys that often lacked rigor and appropriate methodology. Increasing knowledge, changing attitude and practices of police personnel, providing gender segregated spaces to women, providing array of services like counselling, legal aid, providing temporary shelters and referrals for women victims and involving community in dealing with GBV were some of the principles of designing GRP interventions. If the barriers at the level of women and community (such as patriarchy, lack of awareness of right, perception that domestic violence is a family matter, etc.), at the level of policing personnel (lack of training, power inequality) and at the level of system (lack of resources and political will, etc.) are addressed through various interventions at these levels, collectively this can result in increased satisfaction of women in policing services and increased reporting of crime and enhancing the feeling of safety/security which can have impact on reducing violence against women.
How did we get these results?
The systematic review of literature was conducted in two stages, with Stage 1 as a scoping review for identifying and describing the available research in terms of their focus, study design and context. In Stage 2, we included the studies evaluating the effectiveness of GRP interventions. A total of 36 studies, mostly qualitative, were included in Stage 2. Data were extracted as per the predefined protocol and analysed using framework synthesis approach.
This report should be cited as:
N. Sreekumaran Nair, Shrinivas Darak, Bhumika T.V, Trupti Darak, Maria Mathews, L. Dayashwori Devi, Ratheebhai V, and Anjali Dave (2017) ‘Gender-responsive policing’ initiatives designed to enhance confidence, satisfaction in policing services and reduce risk of violence against women in low and middle income countries - A systematic review. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, University College London.