Government Policy

Stronger police support for victims of gender based violence

The Bangladesh Police, with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today launched Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for police personnel dealing with cases of gender based violence (GBV).

The SOP is necessary to ensure that the Bangladesh police can follow a survivor-centred human-rights-based approach to combating GBV.

The Bangladesh Police and UNFPA therefore decided to develop a comprehensive SOP focusing on GBV and women-friendly police services in order to strengthen police personnel's handling of such cases and make police services overall more women-friendly.

The SOP is a practical tool for the Bangladesh Police to ensure systematic and appropriate guidance to police personnel in combating GBV.

AKM Shahidul Hoque, Inspector General, Bangladesh Police speaking at ceremony praised the police for strengthening knowledge, skills and commitment to collectively protect women and girls in Bangladesh.

He said, "Following the launch of the SOP the police will extend best possible services and work to prevent and respond to women and girls who have become victims of gender based violence."

UNFPA has been working with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Bangladesh Police since 1996 to assist the Police in ensuring that women and girls are able to report cases of violence in an atmosphere of confidentiality and dignity and to guarantee that cases are managed with efficiency and effectiveness.

With UNFPA support 15 police stations now have dedicated Women Friendly Helpdesks, where trained female officers attend to cases of gender based violence reported by girls and women.

Forty four police stations in five intervention districts (Cox's Bazar, Patuakhali, Sylhet, Jamalpur and Dhaka Metropolitan) have already introduced SOP systems. One such example is Sheema, who was only 15 when she was rescued by a Women's Help Desk Officer in Patuakhali Sadar after having been tortured by her husband and in-laws.

Mr. Lori Kato, Officer in Charge of UNFPA during the launch highlighted the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation between health services providers, legal support and the judicial sector.

He moreover urged the Bangladesh Police to make the SOP an approved and official document country-wide.

He thanked the Police for their dedication in dealing with GBV and concluded by saying: "I am convinced that with your commitment and dedication we can jointly address the critical issues which are constraining women and girls from achieving their full potential in Bangladesh. Together we can make a significant stride in stopping all gender based violence, including child marriage."

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)