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Mirko Fernandez from United Nations Women talks about Gender Responsive Policing

Mirko Fernandez

Mirko Fernandez, UN Women

Mirko Fernandez from United Nations Women, Geneva, zoomed in live to the workshop on 21 October 2022 at the University of the Sunshine Coast about Enhancing the Policing and Integrated Responses to #DFV and #SV. He spoke about The Handbook of Gender Responsive Police Service published in 2021 in collaboration with UNODC and the IAWP. The Handbook was developed by police for police to provide them with a practical guide to implementing gender responsive policing and putting in place accountability measures to track progress toward goals. Gender sensitivity recognises the diversity and complexity of the dynamics of gender inequality, while gender responsiveness takes actions to reduce gender inequalities and disadvantages. This strategy is used not just in relation to violence against women and girls, but all crimes. One of the main advantages of gender responsive policing is to build trust between police and local communities, and relationships with victims/survivors of gender-based violence. This is especially important for responding to domestic and sexual violence because:

“Strengthening the justice sector response, particularly that of law enforcement, has consistently been cited as one of the most challenging issues when responding to violence against women and girls. A positive initial contact experience with police is crucial for survivors of violence and a high-quality police and justice response must be available and accessible to all women and girls who are navigating an often-complex justice system, especially those who are most marginalized and are at greater risk of experiencing violence.” (Fernandez and Townsley, 2021: Introduction)

Mirko Fernandez also spoke about the importance of training police in how to develop their capability in gender responsive policing. The Handbook provides practical guidance on the fundamentals of this specialist training as well.

Finally, Mirko stressed that police and perpetrators both need to be made accountable and goals toward gender responsiveness need to be transparent and measurable. He praised the efforts of police whistle blowers who take risks with the intention of improving services to victims/survivors of #DFV and #SV.

This speech was recorded at the Enhancing policing and integrated responses to domestic and sexual violence workshop, co-hosted by Kerry Carrington and the University of the Sunshine Coast 21 October 2022. You can listen to it by clicking the link below.

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