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UGANDA POLICE RESPONSE TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS Presented by SP Alalo Christine
Introduction • Uganda is a signatory to a number of international and regional human rights instruments that provide for a legal redress for victims of all forms of discrimination and violence against women including violence by intimate partners. • Ugandan government made a commitment to these instruments by ratifying them. The convention on elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
Cont • In addition the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda accords women full and equal dignity of persons with men and prohibits laws, culture, customs/traditions that undermine the welfare of women. • The constitution in art 211 and the Police Act Sec 4 spells out functions of the Police
cont • To protect life and property, preserve law and order, prevent and detect crime, to cooperate with the civilian authorities and the population and other security agencies established under the constitution.
Extent of Violence against women and girls in Uganda • Gender Based Violence, especially domestic violence and sexual offences are high in Uganda. A study that was conducted by Law Reform Commission (2006) established that domestic violence frequently occurs in homes.68% of women in reproductive age bracket experience violence compared to 56 % of men in the same age bracket.
Cont • For women their spouses/husbands or partners are the most common perpetrators of such violence. • Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2006 revealed that 24% of women report that their first sexual intercourse was against their will.
Cont • Police Annual Statistics reveal that defilement is among the leading sex related crime. Year Defilement Death by DV 2007 12,230 2008 8,635 137Cases 2009 7,360 165 Cases 2010 4,900
Response to domestic Violence • In an attempt to address the problem, the government of Uganda criminalized domestic violence in her laws .H.E the President of Uganda assented to the laws on Domestic Violence,FGM and Trafficking in Persons.
Cont • The Uganda Police Force in an attempt to address the problem established a gender desk in 1995 which changed to child and family protection unit 1998 and in 2008 elevated to a full department. • The mandate of this department is to create an environment in which women’s rights are recognized, respected and protected.
Cont • The Idea behind this initiative was to provide a friendly environment where women and children feel comfortable in reporting issues that affect them. • The unit also enforces laws in relation to domestic violence, child care and protection. conducts investigations, arrests and charges the offenders to court. Cases range from defilement, Domestic Violence ,child neglect etc.
Cont • Provide elementary counseling and guidance to victims and offenders, then later refer the victims to agencies that have the required skills. • Raise Awareness on the dangers of GBV,rights of women and children, the laws in place and procedures to follow. This is done in schools, community meetings ,home visits, opinion leaders ,in the barracks and through the media where we capture a big audience .
Cont • Network externally with other stake holders like PSWO,local government, courts, medical, NGOs, UN bodies and MoGSW .This is done because of the complexity of the problem that requires a holistic approach to issues like medical, legal aid, psycho-social help and protection. • Provided specialized trainings to the child and family protection Officers on responding effectively to different forms of GBV.
Cont • With support from UN Women, we now have police training curriculum on gender and children's issues to help change the attitudes of police officers to better understand the issue of GBV and how to respond. • Other stake holders like save the children, world vision have supported the police by building offices for child and family protection in most of the country side stations, transport (m/cycles,bicycles etc ) to enable CFPO’s effectively respond to cases of GBV and make follow ups.
cont • Police is increasing its capacity to respond to issues by recruiting massively in order to increase on police presence up to sub county level. Some of them will be deployed as Child and family protection officers at the out posts.
Efforts to Mainstream Gender in the Police Force • UPF continues to try to comply with the national and legal frame work in mainstreaming gender in the sector. For instance • HRM department of the Police force is currently reviewing the police standing order to make it gender Sensitive.
cont • The recruitment clause is being reviewed to comply with the constitutional provisions and the Gender Policy that takes in account Affirmative Action of 30% slot for every recruitment of women across board in order to redress the imbalance which exist against them.
cont Placement of female Police Officers • The Uganda Police force is also trying to achieve placement of female Police Officers in all sectors of Police Performance for example; • The force has undergone 2 main structuring process over the last decade with the 1st in 2001 and the latest in 2008
cont • which created 11 Directorates and 58 departments. Of the 11 AIGPS, 3 are women. Out of the 58 Commissioners that head departments,4 are women ( PRO, Head of CFPU,Estates and specialized crime unit ). • At command level, 2 women Police officers are Regional Police commanders, 6 are Regional child and family protection officers, 2 District/Divisional Police commanders and a substantial number of ladies are district CID and traffic Officers.
Cont Deployment of Female police officers. • Women are distributed at every station and some of them head outposts. The Force also takes care of the roles of women and their position in society e.g. Mothers are not deployed in the night shifts. • UPF contribute troops to peacekeeping missions. Police women have been part of the troops and they have contributed tremendously towards peace building. Many of them are deployed as Gender officers in the mission areas to oversee women, children and vulnerable person’s issues in the mission.
Challenges • Lack adequate resources like office space, transport. • Few Police surgeons. • Cultural issues (interferences from the immediate families) • Ignorance by some victims and the families. • Lack of cooperation from Some gov’t doctors when it comes to medical examination and providing evidence in court.
Cont • Lack of gov’t shelters for protection of victims. • Frustration from procedure to justice. Cases at times take long before they are heard so victims and potential witness loose interest. End up negotiating out of court for compensation. • The language of cross examination in court also leads to some of these cases being thrown out of court. • The number of Police women in decision making position is still small. There is need to have women representatives at all levels of decision making.
Measures being put in place to address the challenges • UPF for the last three recruitments have taken into account the affirmative action of 30% for women in any recruitment in order to increase the number of women in the Force. • The force is also trying to attract more doctors to join police in order to solve the issues of medical examination. Plans are also under way to recruit social workers in the department of CFPU
Cont • UPF has a plan to establish a one stop centre where victims of SGBV are given a temporary shoulder to lean on. • UPF also has plans to have more women promoted to higher positions so they can take up leadership roles.
Cont • THANK YOU