The provision of key resources and equipment to police and military is essential to increase their capacity to respond rapidly and effectively to incidents of violence. In many countries, the police lack the basic transportation and equipment necessary to adequately respond to survivors: vehicles for reaching affected individuals, cameras and basic forensic equipment to collect evidence; telephones to communicate or computers to record data. The provision of equipment is an important means to build institutional response capacity and can also be used as a mechanism to encourage progress.
For example, in Haiti, UNIFEM provided motorcycles to the National Police to enable them to respond to incidents in rural areas and through the ongoing partnership, the Commander of the Police signed an agreement with UN Women including targets for better response to incidents of gender-based violence.
In Liberia, the Norwegian Refugee Council is providing community groups with motorcycles so that they can improve women’s access to the police.
It is important that the provision of resources and equipment to the police is done in a context-specific manner. In some cases, it will require integration in a comprehensive approach so that all units of the police benefit; not solely the vulnerable person’s unit or women’s police station. This may help to avoid imbalances and resentment among personnel and units, but ensures that specialized units have adequate infrastructure for operating. In other cases, where it is challenging to recruit and retain personnel for specialized work in domestic violence, vulnerable person’s or women’s police stations, additional resources to these offices may provide an important incentive and prestige.
All police facilities, stations or units receiving survivors should be adequately equipped to respond to their immediate needs. At a minimum, the following infrastructure and equipment needs to be in place:
A separate room for survivors to report the crime and where interviews can be conducted and evidence collected and recorded in an atmosphere of privacy.
Transportation to respond to reported incidents of violence, including removal of the perpetrator from the home (where applicable); to escort the survivor to other key services, such as a medical centre or shelter; and to return to the crime scene to collect further evidence.
A free telephone line for survivors of violence and others to report incidents of violence and follow up on cases.
Provision for 24 hour coverage, 7 days a week – ideally through permanent staffing; if not, through an on call system.
A camera and basic forensic equipment to collect evidence needed for prosecution.
A secure record filing and storage space.
Other considerations include:
Providing police with civilian clothing to increase a survivor’s comfort in approaching security personnel
Maintaining urgent supplies to tend to rape survivors, such as rapid HIV tests, post-exposure prophylaxis and emergency contraception (where applicable and where trained personnel exist)
Performance Standards and Assessment Tools for Police Services Addressing Cases of Violence against Women (Philippine National Police, National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women and United Nations Population Fund, 2008). This tool is for police and other law enforcement officials and is part of a five-series package of performance standards for service provider agencies. The resource includes a detailed infrastructure checklist for police facilities to assess and measure institutional compliance with the standards, monitoring and evaluating their implementation and a baseline report on the standards in the Filipino context. Available in English; 88 pages.
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