PROJECT Supported by OSCE Mission to BiH and implemented by the Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior Women Network – RS WPON.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – EDUCATION OF POLICE OFFICERS

On March 10, 2016 at the invitation of the OSCE Mission to BiH, representatives of the RS MoI Women Network – RS WPON held a meeting with the representatives of the Mission. On the occasion, the Association “Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior Women Network – RS WPON” was offered cooperation in the implementation of a project on education of police officers of the RS Ministry of the Interior from all Public Security Centers on domestic violence. The RS MoI Women Network was offered support in the implementation of a project constituting education of certain number of police officers on domestic violence.

 

The project activities included hiring competent educators, and organization and implementation of domestic violence trainings for police officers in all RS MoI PSCs.

The minister of the interior approved the signing of the project and the implementation of the project activities.


About Project

The project “Domestic Violence – Education of Police Officers” in the Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior was implemented from June 16, 2016 to December 16, 2016 for police officers of 6 RS MoI Public Security Centers, namely PSC Trebinje, PSC East Sarajevo, PSC Bijeljina, PSC Doboj, PSC Prijedor, and PSC Banja Luka.

 

The project “Domestic Violence – Education of Police Officers” includes three main modules and a practical evaluation:

–           Documenting and prosecuting domestic violence cases;

–           Intervention of police officers and control of their behavior;

–           Specific features of police officers’ communication with victims of domestic violence – cognitive interviewing techniques with the victim and perpetrator of domestic violence.

In accordance with the Project, trainers for three modules were a prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, a representative of the RS MoI Office for Protection of Integrity and Legality in Work and a pedagogue – a psychologist.

All costs incurred during the project were covered by the grant.

Need assessment

Compared to any type of criminal offence or misdemeanor, domestic violence has a specific impact and far-reaching consequences on future generations and society as a whole. In order to interrupt the destructive effects of these acts on wider community, the police must be constantly trained in this area. Therefore, the key focus of training is on police officers, especially on police knowledge, skills and abilities.

Project target group

The target group are police officers who work on domestic violence cases in the Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior.
Organizing trainings for police officers in the RS MoI
A total of 72 police officers (54 males and 18 females) whose everyday tasks are related to domestic violence cases, prosecutors from District Prosecutor’s Office Banja Luka and Doboj and an associate to the prosecutor of the District Prosecutor’s Office Bijeljina attended trainings on domestic violence under the project “Domestic Violence – Education of Police Officers”, conducted by the RS MoI Women Network – RS WPON and financially supported by the OSCE Mission to BiH.

 

 

On 07/15/2016, a domestic violence education for police officers of PSC Trebinje was held in “Nar” Hotel in Trebinje. The training was attended by 12 police officers of PSC Trebinje (10 men police officers and 2 women police officers).

 

On 08/19/2016 an education for police officers of Public Security Center East Sarajevo was held in “Board” Hotel on Jahorina within the same project. The education was attended by 12 police officers of PSC East Sarajevo (8 men police officers and 4 women police officers).

 

On 10/14/2016 an education for police officers of Public Security Bijeljina was held in “Ima dana” boarding house in Bijeljina within the same project. The education was attended by 12 police officers of PSC Bijeljina (7 men police officers and 5 women police officers).

 

On 11/07/2016 an education for police officers of Public Security Center Doboj was held in “Kardijal” Hotel in Teslic within the same project. The education was attended by 12 police officers of PSC Doboj (11 men police officers and 1 women police officer).

 

On 11/18/2016 an education for police officers of Public Security Center Prijedor was held in “Monument” Hotel on Kozara within the same project. The education was attended by 12 police officers of PSC Prijedor (10 men police officers and 2 women police officers).

 

On 12/05/2016 an education for police officers of Public Security Center Banja Luka was held in “Palas” Hotel in Banja Luka within the same project. The education was attended by 12 police officers of PSC Banja Luka (8 men police officers and 4 women police officers). The representative of the OSCE Mission to BiH, Joeri Maas, also attended the education.

Results

The methodological linking of domestic violence issue through three aspects gave the desired results in trainings conducted in public security centers of the RS MoI since the questionnaires showed that sensitization of police officers when interviewing a victim of domestic violence influence the quality of documentation of domestic violence misdemeanors and offences (module: Specific features of police officers’ communication with victims of domestic violence – cognitive interviewing techniques with the victim and perpetrator of domestic violence).

 

The prosecutor indicated that the trainees were the most active during the module “Documenting and prosecuting domestic violence cases”, and he also clarified some of the police officers’ concerns regarding the gathering of evidence for the indictment, further action of police officers if the prosecutor issues an order not to carry out or suspend the investigation, as well as gathering evidence in misdemeanor proceedings. In module “Intervention of police officers and control of their behavior” police officers were introduced specific cases in which internal and disciplinary proceedings were conducted against police officers who appeared as perpetrators of domestic violence or were subjects of disciplinary proceedings due to irregularities in documenting domestic violence misdemeanors and offences. The purpose of the foregoing was to directly point out the consequences for police officers which were inevitable in presented cases, as well as similar ones.

Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that the specificity of the training lies in direct contact and exchange of information and opinions between police officers and prosecutors, and the discussion was particularly fruitful in trainings for members of the PSCs of Banja Luka, Doboj and Bijeljina due to the active participation of representatives of District Prosecutor’s Offices.

Conclusions and recommendations

The conclusions drawn by the organizers of the training, i.e. the Association “The Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior Women Network – RS WPON”, on the basis of the notes taken during each education, the analysis of the questionnaires filled in by police officers – trainees and the individual opinions of the educators are the following:

 

  • Considering that a special contribution to the project was given by the participation of prosecutors as trainers, as well as by them taking part in trainings for police officers of PSC Banja Luka, PSC Doboj and PSC Bijeljina, police officers expressed the need for a longer training period, preferably two days, or subsequent roundtables, to be able to raise the issue of dealing with specific domestic violence cases, and to receive clear instructions and suggestions for dealing with similar situations from prosecutors in person;
  • It was pointed out that this issue should be addressed, or further improved, by establishing special departments within police stations that would deal with the problems of marriage and family crime, and juveniles as victims and perpetrators of criminal offences, since police practice shows that these segments of work are very closely linked;
  • It was pointed out the amount of stress police officers dealing with domestic violence cases face, especially when the victims are children, as was the lack of psychologists with whom police officers would be able to talk to. In this regard, it is recommended that police officers at police stations, who deal with domestic violence cases, especially with juvenile victims of these offences, have at least a periodic visit from a psychologist (an employee of the RS MoI or non-institutional staff) with whom they would be able to talk from time to time in order to feel psychological relief regarding the tasks and activities they do;
  • It was proposed to have a more stringent criminal policy towards perpetrators of domestic violence criminal offences and misdemeanors. It has not been determined how and by whom this initiative would be taken;
  • At the recommendation of a prosecutor – trainer that police officers monitor the trials in the cases they were working on, police officers stated that they did not monitor the trials for objective reasons, such as not being informed by courts and prosecutors when trials were scheduled, due to lack of time, the court’s distance from police stations (sometimes tens of kilometers in one direction). In terms of this, it is recommended to find a way (through suggestion in written form, etc.) in the coming period for managerial police staff to consider within their police stations the possibility of enabling police officers working on domestic violence cases to attend trials;
  • In relation to the previous recommendation, the trainings also highlighted problems with the representation in misdemeanor cases, especially in terms of required expertise of the employee who represents the request for initiating a misdemeanor procedure. Therefore, it is recommended that police officers, whose knowledge would be further developed in order to best represent misdemeanor domestic violence cases in the court, are appointed in police stations;
  • Police officers from all Public Security Centers suggested that managerial staff at police stations undergo this type of training, which would result in greater efficiency and effectiveness of work in this area.

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