‘Police should handle gender issues sensitively’

Pranita Roy
Sunday, 10 February 2019

“There should be gender sensitive behaviour from police, especially lower rung staffers, immediate response at chowki level, updated knowledge of laws related to women, especially sexual violence against women and children, domestic violence, property rights and special laws of women from minority communities.” said Kiran Moghe

PUNE: Need for gender sensitivity among police personnel is the primary expectation of women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in the city. 

“There should be gender sensitive behaviour from police, especially lower rung staffers, immediate response at chowki level, updated knowledge of laws related to women, especially sexual violence against women and children, domestic violence, property rights and special laws of women from minority communities. The police should include women’s organisations in review and policy planning,” said Kiran Moghe, General Secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).

Gender-based violence needs to be addressed as a public health and human rights issue, in regards to which the police, hospitals and courts need to work together, opined Manisha Gupte, Co-founder of Mahila Sarvangeen Utkarsha Mandal (MASUM). 

“Instead of having separate police stations to deal with violence against women, this issue should be mainstreamed in every police station. We expect the police to make all public spaces safe – these include educational institutions, workplaces, transportation and other open spaces. Equally important, the private domain which includes the home and places owned by the family should also be rendered safe, because most crimes and violations against women and children happen in the domestic sphere,” said Gupte. 

She added, “We shouldn’t leave out any woman, irrespective of her caste, religion, sexuality, physical or mental ability, livelihood or age. Additionally, we need to include transgender people in our discourse. And finally, we must remember that women don’t need protection; their rights need protection.”

“We have tried sending letters to police for inclusion of LGBTQ topic in their curriculum to make their police personnel gender sensitive. Police need to have knowledge about basics of sexuality and their legal issues. Also, provide special training to new cadets and we are willing to counsel them for free. However, they haven’t responded to our letters yet. This is indeed one of the major expectations from police not only in Pune but across Maharashtra,” said Bindumadhav Khire, founder of Samapathik Trust.

“Secondly, few years ago, when Meeran Chadha Borwankar was Pune CP, she had taken up the initiative to conduct quarterly meetings with different NGOs in the city. There, people from different community shared their issues and expectations, and discussed about how to resolve them. A similar kind of initiative if processed by Pune police, it will be appreciated, wherein top cops or police personnel from different departments like cyber, crime etc take out 20 mins of time once in three months of for interaction with LGBTQ community. And as part of this inte raction, if they take confidence building sessions for the community, then it will enable members of LGBTQ to rebuild their trust on legal system and understand the laws defined for them,” added Khire.

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