As the Network Women's Program reports, women in the region "face numerous obstacles in reporting domestic violence and rape, including indifference or hostility from authorities, the refusal of police to take statements or their failure to respond to emergency calls." In some countries, in fact, the police may themselves be "part of the problem, taking advantage of victims rather than helping them." One NGO in Kazakhstan reported that girl who called the police for help with her father, who was abusing her, was asked by an officer for sexual favors in return for his assistance. From Network Women's Program, Bending the Bow: Targeting Women's Human Rights and Opportunities, Open Society Institute 22-24 (2002).
These problems with police are not unique to the CEE/FSU region. Tracing and comparing the progress of the battered women's movement in Britain and the United States, Dobash and Dobash identified the attitude and conduct of police as one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome. From R. Emerson Dobash & Russel P. Dobash, Women, Violence and Social Change 121 (1992).
In many countries in CEE/FSU, people who provide services to battered women identify police and military officers as perpetrators of violence. Women in Macedonia reported that they do not call the police because they fear experiencing harassment or brutality from them. From MAHR, Domestic Violence in Macedonia 17 (1998). Many pointed out that when perpetrators have a connection to the police, the police are even less likely to respond to a call for intervention. Sources in the region also identify corruption, lack of funding for police and society's general mistrust of police as factors in police inability to effectively protect victims of domestic violence.
Globally, there have been many reform efforts targeted at the law enforcement response to domestic violence. The goals of any reform effort aimed at police response should be increased victim safety and offender accountability. It should be noted that the success of any strategy is highly dependent on a variety of social dynamics unique to each country. In addition, it is very important that strategies for improving the police response to domestic violence be implemented within the context of a coordinated community response. See the 2008 United Nations expert group report recommendation on police action in domestic violence cases in the model framework entitled, "Good practices in legislation on violence against women." For the Russian version of the recommendations of "Good practices in legislation on violence against women, click here.
Many of the reports on domestic violence in CEE/FSU produced by The Advocates for Human Rights, as well as the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights's report, Women 2000: An Investigation into the Status of Women's Rights in Central and South-Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States (2000) (retrieve country sections by entering the name of the country and the year of publication), discuss police response to domestic violence.
For a list of research and reports on domestic violence and law enforcement, click here.
The Advocates for Human Rights Site Map About the Site
330 Second Avenue South, Suite 800, Minneapolis, MN 55401 USA Phone: (612) 341-3302 Fax: (612) 341-2971 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although Stop Violence Against Women endeavors to provide useful and accurate information, Stop Violence Against Women does not warrant the accuracy of the materials provided. Accordingly, this Web Site and its information are provided "AS IS" without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular use or purpose, or non-infringement. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusion may not apply to you. We reserve the right to make improvements and/or changes in the format and/or content of the information contained on the Web Site without notice.This information is provided with the understanding that Stop Violence Against Women and its partners are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
Copyright © 2010 The Advocates for Human Rights. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use this material for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution to The Advocates for Human Rights.