In Nepal, the police established a network of service centers to help women feel more comfortable reporting gender-based crime and domestic violence.
The Gender-Based Violence network was set up in 20 districts across the country in coordination with civil society organizations and financial support from the Asian Development Bank.
Nepal - Shankariya Devi Das’ husband left her for another woman. It was the start of a nightmare of domestic abuse.
“My husband would get drunk. He and his second wife would beat me severely,” she says.
“I filed a case. I won after 7 years and I was able to get my share of property.”
To support women like Shankariya, Nepal Police have set up women and children service centers in 20 districts across the country.
The initiative is supported by the Asian Development Bank, with grants from Japan and the UK.
“I think the centers are really important, they provide a place where the civil society can come together so you get people working in violence better able to coordinate,” comments Rurik Marsden, Head of DFID Nepal.
The centers host gender-based violence control networks and offer training for investigators and counseling services for the victims.
The program has also set up a survivor care system as well as the country’s first electronic database of domestic violence cases.
“The project has shown very good result,” says Mukhtor Khamudkhanov, who heads the Asian Development Bank Resident Mission in Nepal.
“And I hope that with high ownership of Nepal Police, project intervention will continue.”
With greater confidence in the police and better services, women are more comfortable coming forward with complaints.
“The police expanded their outreach through our network and conducted awareness programs like street dramas, community orientations, trainings to various other networks which has helped to enhance the coordination between the community and the police as compared to the past, this has led to more reported of violence at the police office,” says Kamala Panta.
Given the success of the pilot programs, Nepal police plan to replicate the networks across all districts of the country.
“We must continue this initiative,” comments Sarbendra Khanal.
“If we are able to make it more robust and implement it in other districts we can multiply its impact.”
The centers offer a safe space for victims of gender-based abuse to come forward.
Now more women like Shankariya Das will have recourse to assistance and justice against gender-based violence.