Sri Lanka: Police Branch Created to Improve Domestic Violence Response
Monday, May 21, 2012 2:55 PM

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment from 2006, more than 60 percent of women in Sri Lanka are victims of domestic violence. Additionally, 30 to 40 percent of women in Sri Lanka experience some form of violence. Due to social and cultural traditions, most victims of domestic violence regard violence as a private family matter and rarely seek protection or take legal action.

In 2005 the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act was enacted to combat domestic violence in Sri Lanka. The Act provides special protections to victims of domestic violence including protective orders. Problems have arisen in the enforcement of the protective orders by the police and the lack of immediate action when victims report domestic violence to the police.

In response to these problems, the Sri Lanka police department created a special branch called the Women and Childcare Bureau. The bureaus are staffed primarily with female police officers and are located in nearly every police station around the country. However, embarrassment, fear of police response, the lack of shelters in Sri Lanka, and the fear of retaliation from the aggressor of domestic violence continue to prevent victims from coming forward to seek protection.

Compiled from: Munasinghe Sandamani Prasadika, SRI LANKA: The Domestic Violence Act and the actual situation, WUNRN (17 May 2012).