UNODC expert: “Victims may be more comfortable talking to a female officer”

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Gender based violence remains a widespread problem in Kyrgyzstan. According to the Kyrgyz National Statistics Committee 14,467 people turned to crisis centres and other institutions providing social and psychological assistance in 2015, an increase by 26 percent compared to 2010.

The level of reporting of cases of family violence to the police is much lower. In 2014, the police registered over 3,524 cases, compared to 1,800 in 2010, according to the same source. A survey on public safety in the Kyrgyz Republic of Civic Union for Reform and Results conducted in 2015 confirmed that many victims of crime and violence do not go to the police.   

“This is a complex, multifaceted issue, but one reason for low levels of reporting is that victims of violence may be more comfortable talking to a female officer”, said Koen Marquering, International Coordinator at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “Unfortunately, there are very few certified police women in the country, in particular at the local level.”

Based on Kyrgyz Ministry of Interior, in 2016, 5.9% of all certified police officers were women in Kyrgyzstan. 4.3% of certified police officers belonged to an ethnic minority. “Modern policing is all about engaging with people in the community to solve problems”, Marquering notes. “Women are often great communicators with strong ability to defuse situations that could potentially turn violent. This is why a diverse gender and ethnic composition of the police service and balanced patrol teams are so important”, he added.

To increase access to professional opportunities for women in law enforcement and increase the capacity of law enforcement bodies to safeguard the rights of women and youth in line with international standards, UNODC is engaged in several initiatives to raise the profile of women in policing and to promote community policing in order to address priority issues such as gender-based violence.

During the past month, 200 female police officers from police departments in all regions of Kyrgyzstan have obtained knowledge on criminal legislation, criminal investigations and crime prevention, including prevention of violent extremism and gender-based violence. Following a first gathering in Osh in March, a second round of such training, which also teaches communication and presentation skills, is taking place in Issyk Kul from 25-28 April 2017.

Introduction of a leadership training program for police officers is planned, as well as initiatives to promote gender sensitive police services in local communities. This can involve dialogue platforms on gender based violence in pilot locations and support to implementation of measures to address gender-based violence within the framework of local crime prevention plans, which have been developed and piloted with UNODC support. Expert advice to strengthen data collection and analysis on domestic and other forms of gender-based violence is also foreseen to support Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to monitor progress towards achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

These activities are implemented within the framework of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia 2015-2019 with funding provided by the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

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For more information please contact Vasilina Brazhko (Ms.)

Communication Officer, UNODC ROCA

Mob. +996 775 98 78 17, E: vasilina.brazhko@unodc.org