People have different security needs based on their sex, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, social group, religion and other factors. For instance, women face a higher risk of domestic violence and men face a higher risk of gun violence (OECD/DAC, 2009). Security needs assessment can be used to determine gaps in an existing situation and what is desired or what ought to be (e.g. related to services available, capacities of security personnel, institutional measures and systems, etc) (PATH, 2010),
An assessment of women's security needs should cover both their immediate or practical needs and their longer-term strategic security needs as it relates to both police responses and the effects of the broader security systems. A practical needs assessment may look at women’s ability to secure immediate protection from abuse, access orders of protection, as well as barriers to receiving assistance, such as fear of reporting cases of abuse due to police insensitivity to survivors or pressure to reconcile with perpetrators, such as in cases of domestic violence. A strategic needs assessment evaluates the broader needs of women, for example, women’s insecurity related to the lack of legislation establishing specific police responsibilities, institutional complacence in cases of violence perpetrated by security personnel or limited capacity of oversight mechanisms responsible for holding the sector to account for its obligations to uphold women’s rights (UNICEF, 2000). For example, an assessment of sexual assault survivor needs may examine services for women and girls provided by police in the process of filing and investigating a case, as well as the broader legal and policy framework related to investigation, including forensic evidence collection and documentation. Security needs assessments may be undertaken to inform programme planning or revisions.
The specific purpose and outline of the assessment needs to be identified as a first step for any security-related initiative or specifically examining women’s security needs.
A preparatory desk review should be conducted, as well as an analysis of the relevant stakeholders and the identification of key individuals to be consulted. The desk review can help to decide the:
number of stakeholders to be interviewed
quality and nature of data to be collected
structure of the assessment report
timeframe required for the overall assessment (UNODC, 2010, Needs Assessment Toolkit).