See also the Security Sector Module.
The UN Handbook sets forth basic obligations of police in responding to violence against women. Legislation should provide that police officers should:
See: UN Handbook, 3.8.1.
Legislation should require the police to inform the complainant/survivor of her rights and options under the law.
Promising practice: Family Violence: A Model State Code, Section 204, describes a comprehensive written notice that police should be required to give to a complainant/survivor for later review. The Commentary to the Model State Code notes that “An officer may be the first to inform a victim that there are legal and community resources available to assist him or her. Written notice is required because a victim may not be able to recall the particulars of such detailed information given verbally, particularly because the information is transmitted at a time of crisis and turmoil. This written menu of options…permits a victim to study and consider these options after the crisis.”
The notice describes the options which a victim has: filing criminal charges, seeking an order for protection, being taken to safety, obtaining counseling, etc. The notice contains a detailed list of the optional contents for an order for protection. This would be of great assistance to a complainant/survivor who may not be familiar with the purpose of an order for protection. When a complainant/survivor is given a written notice and description of these options, it enables her to consider her options and to decide what is best for her safety and for the safety of her family.
Legislation should specifically preclude police from offering mediation or assisted alternative dispute resolution services to parties. Police should not attempt to improve relations in the family by offering these services or by mediating a dispute. (See: UN Handbook 3.9.1; Section on Mediation or assisted alternative dispute resolution)
Drafters should consider a probable cause standard of arrest, which allows police to arrest and detain an offender if they determine that there is probable cause that a crime has occurred even if they did not witness the offence. (See: Minnesota 518B.01 subdv. 14(d)(2)(e) and law of South Carolina, Sec. 16-25-70 (A); Law Enforcement Reform Efforts, StopVAW, The Advocates for Human Rights)
Police should exercise due diligence in pursuing and investigating all cases of maltreatment of widows, including filing a report on reported cases of property grabbing. Legislation should empower the police to intervene in property grabbing and forced eviction to protect widows’ human rights.
(See: The following sub-sections in Drafting Legisation: Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls, Harmful Traditional Practices, Honour Crimes; and Implementation of Laws on Violence against Women and Girls)