PROJECT Supported by the US Embassy to BiH and implemented by the Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior Women Network – RS WPON

SENSITIZATION OF POLICE OFFICERS AND EMPOWERING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE VICTIMS THROUGH A MULTISECTORAL APPROACH

At the beginning of 2013, the Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior Women Network – RS WPON applied for a call for projects announced by the US Embassy to BiH. The project concept was drafted and developed by the Network members in accordance with the RS MoI organization and needs related to the issue of domestic violence at the territory of the Republic of Srpska. The project has been fully accepted by the US Embassy to BiH and the RS MoI Women Network-RS WPON has been granted funding for the implementation of project activities over a period of 18 months related to: monitoring domestic violence, collecting data on domestic violence cases and victims, analysis of collected data, hiring experts and developing a brochure on domestic violence for police and victims of domestic violence, organizing training for police and victims of gender-based violence, and the final evaluation of the project.

 

The police director approved the signing of the project and the implementation of the project activities.

On June 7, 2013, the Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior Women Network – RS WPON and the US Embassy to BiH signed a project “Sensitization of Police Officers and Empowerment of Gender-based Violence Victims through a Multisectoral Approach”.

The project “Sensitization of Police Officers and Empowerment of Gender-based Violence Victims through a Multisectoral Approach” was implemented from June 03, 2013 to December 03, 2014 at the territory under the Republic of Srpska Ministry of the Interior jurisdiction.

In accordance with the Project Implementation Plan and Program, all basic organizational units of the RS Ministry of the Interior, i.e. all Public Security Centers, designated and assigned persons (analysts, members of the Network and expert personnel of police officers) to monitor domestic violence in the areas under the Centers’ jurisdiction. The parameters that the analyst-led teams have monitored over a 12-month period have been previously defined. Based on the results obtained, the teams in their respective areas identified victims of domestic violence who volunteered for education.

The education referred to the legal procedures, types of a judicial epilogue, legal assistance that victims can receive, getting familiar with the competencies and obligations of Social Work Centers, health and psychological treatments that can be provided to the victim, or to which he or she is entitled to, and the professional responsibility of domestic violence victim protection entities. The educations were conducted at the territories of ​​all RS MoI Public Security Centers. The lecturers were a judge, a social worker, a doctor of family medicine and a pedagogue-psychologist. Representatives of ICITAP in Bosnia and Herzegovina participated at the educations as lecturers, too.

A questionnaire on the effectiveness of police officers’ conduct in cases of gender-based violence has been prepared and each victim will have the opportunity to complete it anonymously and it will be used to analyze the quality of police officers’ work in dealing with gender-based violence cases.

The police officers dealing with domestic violence cases have also undergone the education. What is important to note is that at least one police officer from each police station in the Republic of Srpska has received education under this project.

The project also includes developing and printing promotional materials – brochures for victims of gender-based violence and professionals (primarily members of the police) who deal with cases of gender-based violence.

Material preparation

Reporting forms and templates were developed and printed to monitor the conduct and documentation in cases of “domestic or family violence”, which were completed and filled in by police officers of the RS MoI. They include information about the incident, victim information, suspect information, symptom and internal injury data, modus operandi and causes of domestic violence, as well as additional information about the victims.

 

A questionnaire was prepared for domestic violence victims, which include information i.e. the victim’s answers about conduct of police officers, social and medical workers. These data are provided voluntarily by victims of domestic violence.

A template (table) for collecting data on domestic violence events (misdemeanors and criminal offences) for a period of 12 months (number of domestic violence events, number of misdemeanors, number of criminal offences, gender and age of perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, family relations between a perpetrator and a victim, presence of minors to violence, actions taken by police against a perpetrator and victim) has been prepared, too.

Project implementation guide

Given the complexity of the activities in this project and the number of RS MoI members included in the implementation of this project, the Project Implementation Guide has been developed. A meeting of the project coordinators with representatives of Public Security Centers, who were appointed by their superiors as coordinators of the teams established at each Public Security Center, was held on September 21, 2013. The team coordinators were introduced how the project was being implemented and how the data were collected.
Establishing domestic violence monitoring teams
In accordance with the Project Implementation Plan and Program, immediately after getting an approval for project implementation by the Police Director, teams were formed to monitor the events of domestic violence. They consisted of representatives of the Ministry from each police station at the level of the RS MoI Public Security Centers, as well as one analyst from each PSC in charge of coordinating all activities, totaling all collected data and providing them to the persons responsible for the project implementation.

 

A total of 72 Ministry members at the territory under the RS MoI were actively involved in the implementation of this project.

Collection of data on domestic violence events (misdemeanors and criminal offences)

In a course of 12 months (starting from July 2013, ending June 2014), in accordance with the previously established methodology, the data were collected on domestic violence events, such as: number of domestic violence events, number of misdemeanors, number of criminal offences, gender and age of perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, family relations between a perpetrator and a victim, presence of minors to violence, actions taken by police against a perpetrator and victim. These data were collected throughout the Republic of Srpska, in all organizational units of the RS Ministry of the Interior.

Support to marking 16 Days of Activism Against Domestic Violence

Within this project the contribution has also been given to marking 16 Days of Activism Against Domestic Violence. In November and December 2013, promotional posters “They do not suffer violence – neither should you” were printed and distributed in 87 organizational units of the RS Ministry of the Interior on the occasion of 16 days of activism against domestic violence.

 

Promotional posters have been displayed in all organizational units of the RS Ministry of Interior.

Hiring professionals to produce brochures for police officers and brochures for victims of domestic violence

The project envisages the creation of a booklet for police officers that will serve as a guide for police officers on how to properly handle domestic violence cases. The leaflet for victims of domestic violence is intended for victims and for informing them about their rights. Since the project is focused on a multidisciplinary approach, we have hired representatives of various institutions dealing with domestic violence to produce these brochures, namely the judge of the Banja Luka Basic Court, a graduate social worker at the Center for Social Work in Banja Luka, a specialist in family medicine Health Center in Banja Luka and psychologist educator from the Police Education Directorate in Banja Luka.

Brochure for police officers

The booklet is intended for police officers handling domestic violence cases and contains five chapters.

 

The first chapter deals with information on the Association of Women Network of the RS Ministry of Interior – RS WPON.

The second chapter deals with the processing of domestic violence cases, ie recommendations, evidence, preparation of witnesses to testify, acting in case of the victim’s dismissal of testimony, checking the existence of previous reports of domestic violence, checking misdemeanor punishment, psychological violence, and the charge of a qualified person. the form of the work.

The third chapter deals with innovative approaches to work with victims of domestic violence, that is, the role of social work centers (social protection services) in acute violence, and the description and analysis of the role of the mobile team in dealing with domestic violence cases.

The fourth chapter deals with the medical aspect of domestic violence, ie the consequences of violence on the victim’s health, clinical indicators – indicators of domestic violence, indicators of behavior of the victim of domestic violence, clinical signs of violence and influence on children and places of identification of victims of violence.

Chapter Five deals with the specificities of communication between police officers and victims of domestic violence, ie the principles of police officers’ treatment, and tips for improving the active listening of police officers when it comes to interviewing a victim of domestic violence.

Brochure for victims of domestic violence

A brochure for victims of domestic violence for victims of domestic violence consists of four chapters.

 

The first chapter deals with the empowerment of women victims of domestic violence and the professional responsibility of the protection subjects, and covers the notion of violence against women, the analysis of why women suffer violence and why they remain in a situation of violence, professional responsibility in domestic violence, and the general principles of working with an abused woman.

The second chapter deals with the victims of domestic violence cases and contains the provisions of the Misdemeanor Legislation (the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence), the provisions of the criminal legislation (the Criminal Code in the Republika Srpska), as well as the provisions of the Law on the Protection of Witnesses in Criminal Procedure.

The third chapter deals with innovative approaches to work with victims of domestic violence and contains information on centers for social work as victims of victim protection, a mobile team, how to protect victims on weekends and holidays, the obligations and duties of representatives of centers for social work in acute violence, placing victims in a safe house, paying the costs of sentence and court, granting custody of children and how to prevent gender-based violence.

The fourth chapter deals with the medical aspects of violence and the family and contains information on the consequences of violence on the health of victims, the role of doctors and other health professionals, the identification of victims of violence in the health care system, the actions of health professionals and their tasks.

Organizing education for police officers and victims of domestic violence

At the time of writing this project and applying to the US Embassy in BiH, the RS MUP had in its organizational structure five Public Security Centers (CJB Banja Luka, Doboj, East Sarajevo, Bijeljina and Trebinje). Subsequently, after the implementation of the project took a long time, another Public Security Center – Prijedor was formed. This CJB Prijedor was not covered by a plan to provide training for police officers and victims of domestic violence. According to the previously established Plan and Program for the realization of this project, trainings were planned for CJB Banja Luka, Doboj, East Sarajevo, Bijeljina and Trebinje.

 

However, due to the unfortunate events in Bosnia and Herzegovina during May 2014, that is, the floods that hit this region and the consequences that occurred in Doboj, the plan was changed, so that the education planned for victims of domestic violence from the territory CJB Doboj held for victims of domestic violence from the territory of CJB Prijedor.

The training topics for police officers at all Public Safety Centers were as follows:
– Domestic violence in criminal and misdemeanor cases;
– Innovative approaches to work with victims of domestic violence;
– Medical aspects of domestic violence;
– Specific features of communication of police officers with victims of domestic violence.

The topics of education for victims of domestic violence were as follows:
– Injured persons in domestic violence cases;
– Innovative approaches to work with victims of domestic violence;
– Medical aspects of domestic violence;
– Empowerment of women victims of domestic violence – professional responsibility of protection subjects.

In accordance with the project, professionals from different fields are engaged as educators:
– Judge of the Basic Court in Banja Luka;
– Graduate social worker at the Center for Social Work in Banja Luka
– Family medicine specialist at the Health Center in Banja Luka and
– Graduate Psychologist-Educator, Police Education Directorate, Ministry of Internal Affairs of RS.

The lectures were followed by discussions in which the seminar participants had the opportunity to present their experiences in working on domestic violence cases and to receive advice and suggestions on how to deal with them. Victims of domestic violence also had the opportunity to reflect on personal experiences, the actions of representatives of different institutions, and to receive first-hand advice and suggestions on the issues raised, most commonly in the field of legal regulation.

All participants of the training were given promotional materials (a block, a pen and a brochure for police officers on topics covered by the presentation made for the purpose of these trainings through the project). For the victims of domestic violence, brochures aimed at victims of domestic violence were prepared and distributed in addition to promotional materials.

Upon completion of the training, all participants completed the training evaluation questionnaires, which form an integral part of the overall evaluation of all training courses and the project as a whole. Two types of questionnaires were created – one for police officers and one for victims of domestic violence.

Dana 21.02.2014. The training for police officers of the Doboj Police Station was held at the Integra Hotel in Doboj. The training was attended by two police officers and officers from all police stations of the Doboj Police Station, ie a total of 18 police officers.

Dana 14.03.2014. An education for police officers on the topic of domestic violence was held at the Pirg Hotel, Stanišići, Bijeljina.

In addition to full-time educators, lectures for police officers and victims of domestic violence were delivered by Mr. Robert Myers, ICITAP Training Coordinator on Domestic Violence American Experiences. The training was attended by police officers from all CJB Bijeljina police stations, ie a total of 14 police officers.

Dana 15.03.2014. The Pirg Hotel hosted education for victims of domestic violence on domestic violence. A total of 9 victims of domestic violence from the territory of CJB Bijeljina attended the training.

Dana 25.04.2014. An education for police officers of CJB Trebinje on the topic of domestic violence was held. The training was attended by police officers from all police stations of CJB Trebinje, or a total of 13 police officers.

Dana 26.04.2014. The Platani Hotel hosted education for victims of domestic violence on domestic violence. A total of 9 victims of domestic violence from the territory of the Trebinje PSC attended the training.

Dana 05.09.2014. An education for police officers of the CJB East Sarajevo was held on the topic of domestic violence. The training was attended by police officers from all police stations of CJB East Sarajevo, ie a total of 13 police officers. In addition to regular educators, lectures for police officers and victims of domestic violence were also hosted by Mr. Charles Bennett, ICITAP Director on the topic – Women in Police – taking their place.

Meeting with RS Minister of Interior and ICITAP Director

Recognizing the magnitude and importance of the project on domestic violence implemented by the Women’s Network of the RS MUP with the support of the US Embassy in BiH, on 24.09.2014. representatives of the MUP RS Women’s Network were invited to a meeting with the RS Minister of the Interior. In addition to Minister Radislav Jovicic and a representative of the Women’s Network, the meeting was attended by representatives of the ICITAP program for BiH, headed by Director Charles Bennett. At the meeting, Mr. Bennett expressed his admiration, appreciation and strong support for the activities carried out by the MUP RS Women’s Network, especially when dealing with victims of domestic violence.

 

The RS Minister of Internal Affairs also expressed strong support for the project activities, as well as the Ministry’s commitment to continue supporting such and similar projects in the implementation of the RS MUP Women’s Network.

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