Guidelines for Police Training on Violence Against Women and Child Abuse You do not have access to this content

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Commonwealth Secretariat
01 Jan 1999
9781848596658 (PDF)

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Presents an overview of violence against women and child abuse. It covers eight specific issues:

• Gender, human rights and the law

• Police attitudes and sensitisation

• Crime prevention approaches to repeat victimisation

• Perspectives on offender profiling

• Evidence and investigation techniques

• Medical and forensic evidence and investigation procedures

• Liaison with non-police organisations

• Statistics, data collection and case management

The authors also introduce training modules on rape, other sexual offences, domestic violence, child abuse and protection as models of good practice from selected Commonwealth countries.

This book is a revision and update of the original edition which was published in 1989. The first two chapters are entirely new and have been added at the request of police officers.

The first edition was hailed by the UN Rapporteur as ‘a useful guide which is used in the Commonwealth and beyond.’
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  • Foreword

    Many women and children in Commonwealth countries experience violence at the hands of a stranger, or someone dear and well known to them, or those with responsibility for protecting them in difficult situations. This may take place at home, at school, at work, on the streets, and in detention camps for refugees and displaced persons. The effects of violence on victims ranges from psychological abuse to actual physical harm.

  • Introduction

    Violence against women and children is a common problem in all regions of the Commonwealth. This violence takes various forms physical, sexual and psychological. The resulting crimes, such as assault, wounding, rape, incest, homicide, are more likely to be inflicted by men known to women and children than by strangers. The most frequent offenders are men with whom women and children should have their most trusting relationshipsmembers of their family, husbands or cohabitees, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, cousins and other known adults, such as family friends and professional contacts.

  • Overview of violence to women and sexual exploitation and abuse of children

    Violence against women and children is widespread, even in societies that have little formal knowledge of it. Globally, gender-based violence is a major issue. The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, defined gender-based violence as a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women's ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men.

  • Gender, human rights and the law

    The police have a crucial role to play in ensuring that polices on human rights adopted by the United Nations and agreed by member states are achieved. Regarding policies on women's human rights, a gender perspective is required for the police to be able to successfully undertake this socially necessary activity. While the violation of the human rights of women may take the same form as the violation of the human rights of men, they are often family based and require police action in new areas of work.

  • Police attitudes and sensitisation

    The role of the police in strategies to address crimes against women and children is crucial and central. However, research from many countries, such as Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, India and New Zealand, indicates that the response of the police is not always as satisfactory as it could be. Crimes against women and children tend to be treated with less seriousness than crimes against men or property.

  • Crime prevention approaches to repeated victimisation

    As experience in obtaining information and undertaking surveys of victimisation has grown, so has the distinction between prevalence, the number of victims per head of population and incidence, and the number of crimes per head of population. Prevalence is always lower than incidence as women and children are often victimised more than once over time. This is true of all types of crime, and particularly so with violence in domestic settings whether against women or children.

  • Perspectives on offender profiling

    In some jurisdictions, registration of known sexual offenders after release from prison is mandatory. This is in order to protect the community, specifically the children within it.

  • Evidence and investigation techniques

    Training must address the myths of rape and introduce officers to the rape trauma syndrome. It may be that negative attitudinal problems are reinforced by legal definitions for rape or outcomes of court cases, which suggest that only a very serious physical attack followed by sexual assault can be successfully prosecuted. A legal requirement of corroboration may have a negative effect on police attitudes.

  • Medical and forensic evidence procedures

    A number of countries in the Commonwealth have attempted to ameliorate this problem, seeking to render the medical examination required for the gathering of the vital evidence as comfortable as practically possible. It is preferable that medical evidence be obtained in a health or other nonpolice setting in order to provide a more pleasant atmosphere in which to examine the woman or child. The aim is to provide the woman or child with a trained expert so that her examination produces the best possible evidence.

  • Liaison with non-police organisations and agencies using an integrated approach

    The police have a crucial role to play and this can be assisted by the intervention of other agencies with a social and welfare remit. Complainants of child abuse and domestic violence are left with problems that are not solely legal. Abused children, for example, lose self-esteem and trust and possibly their home and family, and abused women require help with housing and income support as well as cessation of the violence.

  • Statistics, data collection and case management

    Data should be collected at all levels local, national and international. If possible, data should be systematically collected via networked computer programmes, but if this is not possible in all jurisdictions, paper records are preferable to nonrecording. Data collation and analysis provide a basis for short and longterm strategic plans and operational responses, so the easier and time efficient the recording system is to use and to share results, the better it is.

  • Training Modules
  • Country Reports
  • Documents
  • Bibliography
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