- Providing regular and effective training to police regarding the dynamics of violence against women, laws in their jurisdiction, and their role in protecting women is perhaps one of the most critical pieces of implementation. If police do not know or understand the provisions of laws that protect women from violence, they are not likely to effectively respond to incidents of violence. When police fail to effectively respond to violence against women, often the first line of defense for those in immediate danger has been lost.
- Training should be a collaborative effort between police and women’s advocates. Working Effectively with the Police is a guide for advocates who want to develop a relationship with police that will serve to protect women. The guide contains a section specifically on tips and techniques for police training. The International Association of Chiefs of Police makes available on its website extensive training materials related to violence against women. These materials are designed for use with officers at roll-call and in other settings and cover trafficking, sexual assault, domestic violence, and domestic violence committed by police officers. The Commonwealth Secretariat has also published Guidelines for Police Training on Violence Against Women and Child Sexual Abuse focused on the 54 countries represented in the Commonwealth.
- Police training should start early, preferably as part of the police academy before students actually enter the police force. In Paraguay, students at the Police Education Institute attend trainings on the implementation of Law 1600, related to family violence. See: Trainings on Gender, Violence, and Law 1600, UN Secretary General’s database on violence against women. In Timor-Leste, a training program on domestic violence developed for police academy students has since been expanded to the entire force and has developed into a gender-based violence train-the-trainer program. See: Training Manual on Domestic Violence for Police, UN Secretary General’s database on violence against women.
CASE STUDY – Albania
Albania’s law on Law on Measures against Violence in Family Relations contains requirements for police training. In response to these provisions, a Police Protocol on Domestic Violence cases was developed to assist in training police officers. The protocol is highly detailed and also specifically refers to sections of the Albanian law and criminal procedure code. This specificity in linking police responsibilities to the language of the new law helps police understand that their duties during an investigation are not simply good practice but are mandated by law.