Specialist police stations could be key to tackling gender violence | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Specialist police stations could be key to tackling gender violence

As gender-based violence continues to lead global news coverage across multiple court cases, a USC law professor says female-led police stations could be a solution.

Professor Kerry Carrington from USC’s School of Law and Society has researched the effectiveness of women-led police stations in Latin America, and says successes there – and the “empathetic protocols” that support them - could be applied in Australia and possibly save lives.

“A masculine culture can adversely impact how officers respond to violence against women and girls,” Professor Carrington says.

“For instance, surveys show that when reporting acts of domestic violence or other gender-related incidents, many women experienced a lack of empathy from police officers and felt like their complaints were not taken seriously. Some were even blamed for the abuse they had endured.”

Professor Carrington said overall, the study found that police stations for women and family prevented gender violence in three different ways.

“Namely by working with victims and offenders to de-naturalise violence and prevent re-victimisation, by organising community events aimed at disrupting patriarchal norms that sustain gender violence, and by working with local boards to disseminate helpful resources and identify high-risk cases before they escalate."

Professor Carrington's blog 'Changing Police Culture is Vital to Improving the Experiences of Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence' is available here.


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