CENTRE FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN STUDIES
A Pilot Project for Police Training and Community Sensitization Programme on Women and Children Rights was undertaken with the financial assistance of the Department for International Development (DFID), UK and managed by the British Council since August 1998. The main objective of the sensitization programme was to bring about attitudinal and behavioural change of police personnel towards women and children through training/workshop.
To this end, the Centre designed a five-day programmes that include two-day with police, two-day with community, followed by a one-day interactive workshop with police and community together on fifth-day where police and community could exchange their views and opinions centering the issues and problems relating to women and child rights. Emphasis has been given while designing the programme on case analyses viz. domestic violence, gang rape, sexually abused children and harassment, children offender, women and children trafficking so that the participants could identify problems/loopholes in the existing laws relating to the aforesaid cases and put forward their recommendations accordingly. The participants attended the sensitization programmes also developed mechanisms of how police and community can work together in view of combating violence against women and children.
Through this process, the police would become closer to community or vice versa by bridging the existing gap, and both the parties would also be able to make joint efforts towards upholding women and children rights in Bangladesh. To facilitate the sensitization programme efficiently and successfully, the Centre developed the training manuals and IEC materials.
The Centre organized four five-day extensive programmes covering eleven thanas of Bogra in collaboration with TMSS since February 1999 and subsequently two one-day Fact-finding Meetings were also arranged at the same venue aimed at assessing the impact of the sensitization programme. It was evident from our assessment that community people and police took some benevolent initiatives in the best interests of women and children-the vulnerable sections of the population. All the participants and guests attended the programme during one year tenure of the pilot project underscored the need for wider dissemination of the sensitization programme through out the country.
At the same time, CWCS also organized ten Awareness Raising Workshops with Police on Women and Children rights in Dhaka, of them, eight workshops were held at the different police stations in Dhaka and the rest two were held at the Detective Training School (DTS) of CID, Dhaka in 1999. We found all the police personnel attended the workshops very positive and enthusiastic.
With the six months extension from DFID, CWCS further organized three five-day sensitization programmes in three districts, namely Mymensingh, Gaibandha and Jessore between February-May 2000 in association with Democracywatch, SMS, CCDB and GUS respectively. All these organizations are the active members of TWB network of CWCS. At the same time 6 three-hour Awareness Raising Workshops were also organized at the different police stations in Dhaka.
The police officials and the members of the community stated various cases that they encountered in their respective areas and they also took some initiatives, in limited sphere, in the best interests of women and children. After receiving the sensitization program Union Parishad chairman and members of Shibgonj Upazila under Chapai Nawabganj district formed a committee named “Crime Prevention Committee” in their area and arranged meetings to raise awareness among people to combat against women.
Two-year Gender Sensitivity Training for Police and Community to Combat Violence Against Women with the financial assistance of UNIFEM Trust Fund started from September 2000. The main goal was to combat various forms of violence against women by gender-sensitivity training of the police and members of the community about women’s rights as human rights and to achieve distributive justice and gender equity.
Specific objectives of the project were:
Consultation Meeting with Police Officials and NGO
A Consultation Meeting with police officials and NGOs working on human rights was held on 18 November 2000 at CWCS. About 12 high police officials from different Departments of the police and representatives of the grassroots level organizations (NGOs) of Jessore and Rajshahi attended the participatory Consultation Meeting. They shared their experiences and provided their valuable inputs to develop the Trainer’s Manual, Facilitator’s Handbook, IEC materials such as leaflet and booklet. Representatives from INGOs and media were also present at the meeting.
Developing Trainer’s Manual, Facilitator’s Handbook and IEC materials
Trainer’s Manual, Facilitator’s Handbook, Handouts and Workbooks were developed to conduct the training programs. Leaflet on the Role of Police to Combat VAW and booklet on relevant laws relating to VAW were published.
Twelve five-day Gender Sensitivity Training for Police and Community to Combat Violence Against Women
Twelve five-day Gender Sensitivity Training for Police and Community to Combat Violence Against Women were conducted in Jessore and Rajshahi districts of Bangladesh. Police personnel comprising of Inspector, Sub-Inspector, Assistant Sub-Inspector and Constables as well as members of the community such as lawyers, teachers, doctors, government officials, Union Parishad Chairmen and members, journalists, imams (religious leader), businessmen, students, cultural activists, housewife, NGO and social workers had attended the above training programs.
Impact Assessment Study
Impact Assessment Study was undertaken to assess the impact of the gender sensitivity training programs in Jessore and Rajshahi. Monitoring and evaluation team visited the project areas twice to assess the impact of the above training. The team visited the project areas in December 2001 and again in May-June 2002.
Following the training in May and June 2002, the team again visited the project area and conducted Focus Group Discussions, individual interviews, with the trainees and also visited some of the police stations to assess the impact of the training.
Seminar to Disseminate the Findings
Seminar on Two Years Sensitizing Police and Community to Combat Violence Against Women to disseminate the findings of the Impact Assessment Study was organized on 6 October 2002 at Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management (BIAM), Dhaka. About 63 participants and guests included academics, researchers, police officials, development practitioners, women activists, journalists, lawyers, teachers, students, representatives from UNDP, INGOs, Embassies, human rights NGOs and grassroots level partenr organizations attended the Seminar.
Both police and members of the community felt that the gap between police and community as well as between the members of the community themselves have been narrowed than it was before the training. Especially during the interactive session of the training between the police and community, many of the problems faced by women victims were thoroughly discussed and the concept of community policing seemed to be a way out to prevent such violence. Such interaction helped in building the relationship between police and community will further enhanced in crime prevention and working together.
Police and members of the community informed that relevant sections of the laws pertaining to various forms of violence against women discussed in the training have broadened their perception and understanding of legal issues related to gender violence. Almost all the members of the community have taken initiatives either to support the women victims or tried to prevent such incidences after their orientation in the training sessions.
Some segment of the community, especially the teachers, doctors, Union Parishad members and chairmen and NGO activists have shared what they have learnt from the training with their family members, friends and colleagues. Journalists are more keen now in investigating the cases from the gender perspective and impartial and in-depth news reporting on violence against women.
Majority of the trainees felt the urgent need of more training to be organized for the police personnel and community throughout the country, especially in the crime-prone areas. Most of the police personnel and members of the community said that the sessions of role-play as well as the Tree of Law session were very interesting and significant to them. By doing role-play they could visualize the real scenario of violence against women, especially when victims come to file cases with the police stations.
Most of the police, government officials, journalists, lawyers, teachers, local government representatives, religious leaders, businessmen, students, NGO and social workers said that the leaflet, handouts and booklet have been very effective in raising the level of awareness and providing some directives to prevent violence. Some local youths in Jessore caught a rapist red-handed and handed him over to the police which was a positive effect of the messages given in the leaflet and handouts. It was found that the youths were encouraged because of the messages in the IEC materials which were distributed to them by the community people who attended the training.
Some community leaders such as Union Parishad chairman and members, imams (religious leader) who attended the training are now very much aware and active than they were before regarding the issue of violence against in their communities. For example, Union Parishad chairman and members, teachers and imams of Tanor in Rajshahi have arranged local salish (village arbitration) to settle a dowry related violence where the husband had driven out his wife, which was usually perceived as a private matter to be solved within the family itself. According to the decision of the salish, the husband instead had to pay money as compensation to his wife for battering due to dowry.
Some of the police personnel and members of the community said that before attending the training, they never got the chance to sit together and discuss about gender violence. The training session have been an eye opener and have brought changes in their behavior toward each other. According to the members of the community, police are now cooperative and sensitive especially towards the women victims of violence than they were before. Now a days, police at least understand and pay attention to the victims and in many cases they are taking prompt actions like proper investigation and arrest of the accused.
Orientation Sessions on Child Rights for Police Officials were conducted under the project ‘Rule of Law and Access to Justice’ with the financial assistance of the British Council, Dhaka from May 2003 to March 2004.
The Centre organized orientation sessions at 389 police stations of 54 districts of six divisions from May 2003 till to March 2004. A set of five posters were handed over to the police containing messages on child rights issues namely security of children, child labour, violence against children, child trafficking and youth offenders. These messages mainly emphasized the role of police in protecting the rights of the child and the orientation sessions discussed on the clusters of child rights given in the CRC namely:
Seminar on Sharing Experience: Towards Child Friendly Policing
Centre for Women and Children Studies organized a Seminar on Sharing Experience: Towards Child Friendly Policing at Rajarbagh Police Line Auditorium on 15 March 2004 with the financial assistance of the British Council. About 60 police high officials comprising Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan, Additional Inspector General of Police, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Superintendent of Police from different districts and Officers-in-Charge from Dhaka Metropolitan.
Mr. Shahudul Haque, Inspector General of Police was present in the Seminar as the Chief Guest and Dr. June Rollinson, Director, British Council was Special Guest with Dr. Khaleda Salahuddin, Advisor of CWCS in the chair. Prof. Ishrat Shamim, President of CWCS presented key note paper on Overview of the Orientation Sessions on Child Rights for Police Officials.
Advocacy for Pro-Women Policing and Access to Justice was initiated with the financial assistance of the World Bank, Dhaka Office from July 2003 - June 2004. The project is mainly supporting vulnerable women to get justice through information campaigns to raise social awareness of professional pro-women policing. Furthermore, it will safeguard the most vulnerable group of women from gender violence as one of its main objective so as to improve police treatment of victims.
Consultation Meeting on Advocacy for Pro-Women Policing and Access to Justice
A half-day Consultation Meeting on Advocacy for Pro-Women Policing and Access to Justice was held on 3 September 2003 at Dhaka. It was attended by 12 Police officials comprising of Inspector General of Police as Guest of Honour, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Officers-in-Charge and Sub-Inspectors of Police, 8 representatives from non-government organizations and 9 members of the Centre for Women and Children Studies. The main objective of the Consultation Meeting was sharing views and opinions about ways to get feedback for preparing Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on Pro-Women Policing.
Awareness Raising Advocacy Workshops on Gender Violence for Police
Six half-day Awareness Raising Advocacy Workshops on Gender Violence for Police were held at CWCS office premises. The workshops were attended by Sub-Inspectors, Assistant Sub-Inspectors and Constables from the six police stations namely Dhanmondi, Ramna, Lalbagh, Mohammadpur, Mirpur and Gulshan. In the Advocacy Workshops, Advisors of CWCS were present as the resource persons. In the workshops, police participants identified their problems regarding violence against women cases and put forward recommendations to solve the problems.
Monitoring and Referring Cases of Gender Violence to NGOs
CWCS has also monitored the police behaviour towards the victims of gender violence. During the monitoring, CWCS facilitated the women victims of gender violence to get legal support and the victims were referred to the Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST). The previous records were also collected related to various forms of violence against women from the police stations.
National Seminar on Pro-Women Policing
A half-day National Seminar on Pro-Women Policing was organized by Centre for Women and Children Studies on 1September 2004 at Dhaka. The main purposes of the seminar were to share the experiences of the project Advocacy for Pro-Women Policing and Access to Justice. About 70 participants from different professional groups were present in the seminar.
Mr. Shahudul Haque, Inspector General of Police (IGP) graced the inaugural session as the Chief Guest, Ms. Chritine Wallich, Country Director, The World Bank Office, Dhaka and U.M. Habibun Nessa Head of Programme, Justice and Violence, Save the Children UK were the Special Guest with Dr. Khaleda Salahuddin, eminent economist and Advisor of CWCS in the Chair. Prof. Ishrat Shamim, President of Centre for Women and Children Studies presented the Key Note paper.
Police personnel were found to be more sensitive to the women victims who came to file cases in the police stations. Some cases of violence against women were referred to the NGOs who gave legal assistance to the victims.
The project entitled Community Policing: Empowering Community to Combat Gender Violence was initiated from January 2005 to March 2006 at four Union of Sharsha and Avoynagar upazila at Jessore district and Parulia and Shakhipur union under Debhata upazila at Satkhira district with the financial support of the British Council.
To address various forms of violence against women such as wife battering, dowry, rape, trafficking, acid throwing, and sexual harassment through community policing so that police and community can work together to combat gender violence.
The assignment is an activity under the project entitled “Technical Assistance to the Government of Bangladesh in Strengthening Reponses to human trafficking” which is implanted by UNODC in partnership with Ministry of Home Affairs, GoB.
Objective of the ToT: The objective of the training was to develop a resource pool namely Trainers among Law Enforcing Officials and Public Prosecutors on proper investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases following the Prosecution and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012.
Objectives of the trainings: The objective of the training was to assist the Government of Bangladesh in preventing human trafficking through effective and strengthened law enforcement capacities, provide protection and assistance to trafficked victims through establishment of national referral mechanisms and increased cooperation between the criminal justice system and civil society.
Outcome: Enhanced capacity in investigation and prosecution of cases against human trafficking in line with the newly enacted comprehensive law on human trafficking. The training will be organized at the peripheral level that is division and district levels.