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National Police: Pilot mobile groups to counter domestic violence start their work

Kyiv, June 12, 2017.

Pilot mobile anti-violence groups of the National Police start their work under the project “Police anti-domestic violence network” (abbreviated – “POLINA”). The project was prepared in cooperation with the OSCE, Center for Project Coordination at the Canadian Police Mission, UNDP in Ukraine and UN Women. The purpose of the project is to increase the number of applications and recorded cases of domestic violence and provide a relevant response to them, and to raise public awareness of the problem. First, the project will work in Darnytsia district of Kyiv, Malinovskyi district of Odesa and in Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk region. By mid-2018 it will cover the entire territory of Ukraine. This was reported by representatives of the National Police and partners at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

According to the National Police statistics, about 60% of women regularly suffer from domestic violence and only a small number of cases are reported. Caspar Peek, UNFPA representative for Ukraine, said that “85 per cent of women who suffered gender-based violence do not seek medical help. 80 per cent do not report the case to the police.” The reasons for this situation is lack of cooperation between the relevant services, lack of effective infrastructure to help victims of domestic violence as well as mistrust of law enforcement and the stereotype of the “normality” of domestic violence.

“This ​​ project starts the idea of building trust… The issue of gender-based violence will never be resolved unless women themselves trust the authorities and also trust their societies,” said Caspar Peek. “We often hear a phrase that ‘violence is the dirty linen that should not be washed in public,’ but it’s time to unite the efforts of society, law enforcement agencies, parliament, social services, medicine, and start talking openly about it and react to it, create conditions for victims – especially children – to get proper protection and proper rehabilitation. The main tasks of our police anti-violence network are to make the timely detection of domestic violence cases a priori effective and to develop a clear algorithm of interaction between everyone – from the 102 operators to social workers – for the victim’s safety,” stressed Anastasia Deeva, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine on European Integration.

Mobile groups include female police officers, members of the National Police (district and juvenile prevention officers), investigation, criminal investigation and patrol officers who are specially trained to respond to domestic violence cases. They will work in close collaboration with line 102 operators, patrol police and social services. According to police, one should dial 102; then the operator will analyze the situation and redirect the call to the relevant service. For advice please contact the hotline 386.

“We are looking forward to adoption of the law on preventing and combating domestic violence, and ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which will give us leverage to respond to such violations,” noted Vasyl Bogdan, Deputy Director of District Police Officers Division, Prevention Department, National Police of Ukraine. Maria Ionova, MP (“Petro Poroshenko Block” faction), co-chairman of Equal Opportunities Caucus, noted that the Istanbul Convention concerns not only rights of women who mostly suffer from domestic violence. “The Convention concerns human rights, and it is our international obligation. When Ukraine entered the Council of Europe, it undertook to ratify all Conventions of the Council of Europe, – she emphasized. We should speak out about this [problem] and figures so that elected officials understand their responsibilities. We are a secular state, and the Council of Churches should not influence the decisions of policy makers who believe that human rights must be at the highest level. For example, Georgia, where the church’s role, support and credibility is very crucial, has ratified this Convention.” However, according to Caspar Peek, “It’s important to get the Convention ratified (…) but what you really need is a functional legal framework that will allow to act on what is in the Istanbul Convention, even it is not ratified.”

Natalia Fedorovych, Deputy Minister of Social Policy, informed that the Ministry in collaboration with partners has already prepared a draft decree of the Cabinet of Ministers on approving the provision on mobile groups. This week it will be agreed with the other ministries.

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