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Specialist Police Stations enhance the policing response to survivors of sexual and domestic violence, finds an international research team

An international research team, funded by the Australian Research Council, led by A/Professor Kerry Carrington, spoke to the workshop about Enhancing the Policing and Integrated Responses to #DV and #SV. They explained that specialist police stations that emerged in Argentina in 1988 responded only to victims/survivors of sexual and or domestic violence and work in interdisciplinary teams with counsellors and lawyers. Unlike traditional police stations, officers in these police stations have specialist training to respond to gender violence and work alongside multi-disciplinary teams of social workers, counsellors and lawyers to respond to those who seek their assistance (Carrington et al., 2019). They provide childcare and spaces for children and offer women a gateway to supports other than just funnelling women into the criminal justice system to take out a domestic violence order.

The academic research on women-led police stations in India and Latin America have found they encourage earlier reporting to police, widen access to justice, and provide a gateway to other supports, which prevents further re-victimisation while strengthening women’s safety (Amaral et al 2018; Hauztinger 2002; Natarajan 2005; 2008; Jubb et al. 2010; Pasinato 2016, Carrington et al 2019; 2021). Women’s police stations that offer a multi-disciplinary integrated response, also enhance trust in police and improve victim satisfaction with police responses (Córdova and Kras 2020).  Studies in India, Peru and Brazil have provided solid evidence that where these specialist victim-centred police stations exist, rates of domestic homicide of women are lower, in some instances up to 50% lower (Kavanaugh, et al, 2018; Natarajan and Babu, 2020; Perova and Reynolds 2017).   Although it is difficult to measure how transformative specialist police stations have been in Argentina, the transformative capacity of these victim centred specialist police stations designed to respond to and prevent gender violence is undeniable.

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.

Workshop Presentation Kerry Carrington, Maria Puyol and Vanessa Ryan
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