From 6 to 9 September 2021, Nur-Sultan, Karaganda and Aktobe hosted a study tour on the police response to sexual and domestic violence for the representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan.
The event took place thanks to the joint efforts of the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme for Central Asia and Afghanistan, the UNDP country offices in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, with support from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre, Republic of Korea. The Spotlight Initiative is the world’s largest dedicated effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.
During the visit, the Kyrgyz delegation studied the current practices the police response to family and domestic violence cases in Kazakhstan. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan spoke about projects aimed at improving the policing skills of district police officers who directly interact with the public. This is one of the reform priorities for the transition to a service police model within the framework of the implementation of the “hearing state” concept and “accessible police” principle. These projects include the development of special operating procedures for district police officers and police inspectors when interacting with victims, including persons with disabilities, and offenders.
Gulsara Aliyeva, a retired police colonel and gender expert for UNDP Kyrgyzstan, noted, “In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan the police is most often the initial point of contact for a survivor of sexual or domestic violence. From this standpoint, the experience of Kazakhstan in working with people with disabilities is very interesting because our task is to make the system as inclusive as possible, in accordance with both the Sustainable Development Goals and the principle of “leaving no one behind”.
Improving the learning curve on effective GBV response
Moreover, local police will attend a training course on communication skills currently being piloted in Nur-Sultan and Karaganda. This course will be attended by district police officers, the patrol service, juvenile police officers and inspectors of Units for the Protection Domestic Violence Victims.
The work of the units for the protection domestic violence victims of the Administrative Police Committee, Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan became one of the key topics of discussion which the participants returned to during the program. Aleksey Milyuk, Deputy Chairman, Administrative Police Committee, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, explained: “Working with domestic violence victims is not the only function of the Units for the Protection of Domestic Violence Victims. The task of this Department is to coordinate all police departments in the fight against gender violence and to involve other government agencies and the non-governmental sector in the process. The purpose of the Units for the Protection of Domestic Violence Victims is to be a link in efforts at general prevention".
Members of the delegation and host country representatives exchanged information on the implementation of correctional programmes that work with abusers, and they also discussed the work of the crisis centres to help domestic violence victims, including state crisis centres and non-profit organizations.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, with the gradual improvement of the methods for preventing offenses in everyday life, the police have practical tools at their disposal to respond to domestic violence cases, such as by issuing protective orders, setting out special requirements for the behaviour of the offender and by introducing additional sanctions. The Kyrgyz side shared its experience in applying protective orders.
South Korean police GBV prevention practices highlighted
A significant part of the programme was devoted to studying the police training programme, which was based on materials from South Korean police practices with victims of violence. The participants emphasized the need for an intra-departmental training programme developed with the participation of specialists from departmental science and practitioners. The members of the delegation received answers to their questions regarding the introduction of a course on responding to gender-based violence for police officers, updating the course curriculum, training teachers and the regulatory documents governing the process. Under the guidance of Kazakhstan experts and direct developers of this course they reviewed individual sections of the course and took part in group assignments.
Based on the results of the work, it was decided to organize a regular exchange of teachers and experts, under the auspices of the Spotlight Initiative regional programme, between the B. Beissenov Karaganda Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the M. Bukenbayev Aktobe Law Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.
“We have studied the experience of our Kazakh colleagues who introduced and adapted the South Korean approach on providing support to domestic violence survivors. We were particularly interested in the experience of creating and operating special units for the prevention of violence against women. Additionally, during this study visit we created an expert network for future cooperation in the exchange of detailed best practices to implement in Kyrgyzstan”, said Elmira Isakova, Deputy Head, Legal Support and International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.
UNDP-facilitated regional peer-to-peer exchanges key GBV prevention tool
Since 2017, UNDP Kazakhstan has been working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan to enhance the knowledge and skills of police officers across the country to effectively respond to gender-based violence and provide services for victims of violence in accordance with internationally recognized standards.
According to Vitalie Vremis, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Kazakhstan, “A total of 200 regional police inspectors and police investigators received specialized trainings based on the best practices of the South Korean police thanks to the “Development Solutions Partnership Programme” of the Republic of Korea with the support of the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre. The study visits to South Korea by the senior management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and police academies that resulted in the inclusion of the gender-based violence response course in the curriculum of Kazakhstan’s Police Academies was an important component. It is encouraging to see that as a global development organization UNDP facilitates peer-to-peer exchange, thereby helping to address gender-based violence at the regional level”, he added.
The COVID crisis has highlighted weaknesses in the response to domestic violence, but at the same time it presented a need to find new ways of working and finding new approaches to dealing with key problems.
To that end the Spotlight Initiative offers a holistic approach to address violence. That is why, along with the analysis of legislation, with the work on transforming gender stereotypes in society and on support for women's empowerment, considerable attention is being paid to strengthening institutions that ensure the rule of law and security of citizens. This work is based on the understanding that responding to violence is about providing services and support to the victims to mitigate the painful consequences and to prevent further injury.
An extensive action plan is to be implemented under the Spotlight Initiative Regional Programme, which includes the creation of a regional network of representatives from law enforcement agencies to exchange experiences in countering gender-based violence.
Simultaneously, work was launched to review and analyse the procedures, protocols and guidelines for law enforcement officers in dealing with domestic violence cases in countries in the region. The EU-UN Spotlight Initiative regional programme, implemented by UNDP, will continue to identify, highlight and support the exchange of successful experiences in countering domestic violence among the countries of the Central Asian region as one of the areas of its work.
Photo credit: UNDP Kazakhstan