The project has been recognised with a World Bank Development Marketplace Award
The Development Marketplace Award recognises teams from around the world with $100,000 of award funds to support evidence-based research, interventions, and other activities related to gender-based violence prevention and response.
Among the nine research projects honoured this year was Engendering policing: Evaluating reforms to increase women’s access to security and justice, a collaboration between Oxford Saïd, the University of Virginia, and the Police Department in the State of Madhya Pradesh (MP), India.
Funded by MIT Poverty Action Lab’s Crime & Violence Initiative, the World Bank-Sexual Violence Research Initiative, and the Oxford GCRF Research England fund, the project examines whether specialised services for women impact women’s trust in and willingness to report crimes to the police, and whether they are more likely to do so when those services are delivered by women. These questions are addressed in the context of India, a country plagued by rising rates of gender based violence, and low rates of reporting such crimes.
The research team have collaborated with the MP Police Department to study an intervention in 120 police stations, which aims to promote and sustain women-centred policing practices through the establishment of Women’s Help Desks (WHDs). The WHD’s are dedicated spaces in local police stations, staffed by officers trained to assist women in registering cases and pursuing other forms of support. These spaces seek to overcome institutional weaknesses found in other interventions in women’s policing in India.
The WHDs have been established alongside the provision of new police training on how to handle cases involving women as well as sustained community outreach programs. These offer regularised channels for communication between the police and women community leaders, thus providing victims with information, as well as both social and legal support.