Mahabubnagar Police in Telangana has initiated a gender sensitivity training programme for its officers to curb sexist interrogation and moral judgments on women survivors of violence. The training for first responders intends to create a more sensitive reporting environment for women survivors. This is part of the district police’s effort to create a gender-sensitive police force as well as to promote a robust and accountable reporting system for crime against women (CAW), Mahabunagar Superintendent of Police Rema Rajeshwari said.
Mahabubnagar Police on Tuesday launched a “Gender Fellowship for Constable Officers” in partnership with a New Delhi – based organisation People for Parity (PFP). Initially, 30 police constables have been picked to undergo this training. It starts with a workshop and will be completed on May, 2017 through various action projects. The training programme includes PUKAR (a call for help) – a capacity building of police on Violence Against Women (VAW).
This training aims to build a gender-sensitive police force equipped with values, skills and understanding to respond to women victims. The sensitivity training includes establishing the difference between sex and gender; defining violence and understanding different forms of violence against women; to understand and break gender stereotypes and beliefs that they hold; and to build communication skills for empathetic communication with women reporting violence against them.
As part of the training programme, the PfP team will present short role-plays with certain themes which will be followed by a group discussion on the participant’s observations. Some of these themes are “Asking for it” – sexist interrogation and moral judgments on survivors, Do’s and Don’ts in crime against women cases, “All is well”–trivialisation of domestic violence reports and other forms of CAW in families; “Its not a crime!”- Letting off male offenders easily in cases of CAW like eve-teasing, stalking, cyber crime–laws and punishments for various forms of CAW; and “Staying dumb”– Not providing required information about rights and support services to the survivor — Information on Rights and Services available.
Mahabubnagar SP Rema Rajeshwari says the number of incidents of crime against women in the district prompted her to launch this training programme. In 2015, 29 murders, nine dowry deaths, 33 abetment to suicide, 48 kidnapping, 89 rape, 135 outraging modesty, 91 harassment cases were recorded in the district while in 2016, 26 murders, five dowry deaths, 40 abetment to suicide, 51 kidnapping, 71 rape, 131 outraging modesty, 172 harassment cases were recorded. “As there is sizeable reporting of such cases, the district police administration deemed it necessary to train the first responders (Constables) to deal empathetically with such victims of CAW. This will be a continuous effort as the 30 Police Constables will train their counterparts in each Police Station after the completion of the fellowship,’’ SP Rema Rajeshwari said.