Gender-responsive policing

What is Gender-Responsive Policing?

Gender-responsive policing means that the needs of all parts of the community, women and girls, men and boys including minority or marginalised groups, are considered to ensure no group is disadvantaged over another in its treatment by the police.

Gender-responsive policing does not mean that men and women within the police must perform the same roles to gain equity. However, they should both enjoy equality opportunity to choose the role that most suits their individual needs and strengths.

 Gender-responsive policing is important for all crimes. It is not about pigeonholing female police officers into roles that only deal with women and children but recognising that their visible presence in all forms of policing will increase trust and confidence of the police in communities that are, after all, around 50% female.

The UN Women Handbook on Gender-Responsive Police Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence was launched in January 2021. Members of the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) were actively involved in the handbook’s development with contributions from both active and retired police officers and we will continue to be involved in its implementation. The handbook aims to provide police officers and institutions with the necessary knowledge and skills, training methodologies and practical guidance, as well as good practices, gaps and lessons learned from different countries. It covers areas such as: gender-responsive police investigations; prevention; intersectionality; survivor-centred approaches; promoting positive masculinities; coordination; institution-building; and emerging issues such as online and ICT-facilitated violence against women and girls.

Click the image below to download the handbook.

IAWP partners with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to promote Gender-responsive policing (GRP) Services.

Deborah Friedl, President, IAWP said: “Gender responsive policing has long been regarded as a vital component of building trust with the communities served, this principle applies to all countries and never more so than in these difficult times where we have seen trust and confidence in law enforcement shaken.  Ensuring that our policies and practices encourage equality of protection for all citizens is an essential first step.  However, gender responsive policing also requires internal examination and an assurance that that policies and culture reflect gender sensitivity and inclusion.  In so doing, it will ensure that agencies are able to be properly reflective of the communities they serve”. 

IAWP is partnering with UN Women and UNODC to drive a global campaign to gain widespread commitment among police and law enforcement associations, networks, organisations and institutions to promote the benefits of gender-responsive policing and gain support for its implementation, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 5 on ‘Gender Equality’ and 16 on ’Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Click here to see more. 

All pledges we receive to the 5 stated commitments below will be posted here so please visit this page regularly to see which organisations are pledging to commit to change.

We look forward to your pledges and continued support.

You can also read more about Commitments on  Gender-Responsive Policing and Addressing Violence Against Women and Girls: ‘Building Trust and Confidence in Communities’ here.

Commitments on Gender-responsive policing

We publicly commit to promoting gender-responsive policing by:

  1. Committing to institutional change that will deliver gender-responsive police services that are accountable, transparent, and representative of the communities they serve. This includes addressing and preventing harmful institutional gender bias, stereotypes and harassment and increasing women’s representation in policing/law enforcement.   
  2. Strengthening police practices on the prevention of violence against women and girls, including through participation in multi-stakeholder partnerships that address the causes and consequences of violence against women and girls.  
  3. Committing to transformative learning and professional development of police/law enforcement, including through police colleges and universities, to implement gender-responsive policing that is trauma-informed, perpetrator-focused and victim/survivor-centered. 
  4. Ensuring resources are committed to advancing stronger relationships with victim/survivor support services and organizations that represent the rights of women and girls in all their diversity.
  5. Ensuring we demonstrate leadership to those we represent by taking positive steps to empowering and enabling them to deliver these commitments, to monitor and evaluate their impact at all levels of our respective organisations.

    Police/Law Enforcement Associations, Networks, Organisations and Institutions:

    International Association of Women Police - Deborah Friedl, President

    Bellevue Police Department, Nebraska, USA - Ken Clay, Chief of Police

    Centre for Law Enforcement and Public Health (CLEPH) - Nick Crofts, Director

    Global Law Enforcement & Public Health Association (GLEPH) - Richard Bent, President

    La Police Nationale, Senegal, Africa - Modou Diagne, Director General


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