Rwanda National Police Gender Desk

Rwanda National Police Gender Desk

Establish gender desks / focal points / units within security institutions

  • Specialized focal points, desks or units on gender issues (or specifically on violence against women) can be established inside relevant ministries (i.e. interior, justice and defense) as well as at the national headquarters of the police service or armed forces or sub-national level police departments or specific military battalions.
  • The focal points/ desks usually play a strategic role in internal gender mainstreaming and in the implementation of related policies and procedures. Although some institutional gender desks may have a broad mandate covering coordination/ awareness-raising as well as direct service delivery to survivors, their key functions often involve:
    • Coordinating the implementation, monitoring and evaluation (and perhaps contributing to the development of) relevant operational strategies, guidelines and procedures
    • Strengthening personnel capacity to investigate cases of violence (e.g. through coordinating training of the police or armed forces in this area)
    • Improving police/ military response to survivors, which might include providing a hotline, coordinating the establishment of specialized community-based units in local facilities/ rooms to receive victims, promoting procedures and protocols on investigation, interviewing, enforcing protection orders, etc.
    • Increasing public awareness of gender-based violence and the role of the police/ military in assisting survivors (e.g. developing communications campaigns and materials or participation in public events on the issue)
    • Advancing data collection and case management systems to monitor information on the incidence, types and patterns of gender-based violence and the processing of reported cases
    • Serving as a focal point for reporting sexual harassment or sexual exploitation and abuse by security personnel – in the absence of dedicated internal disciplinary bodies
  • Gender desks or coordinators need adequate resources and decision-making authority in order to have an impact on police, military and wider sector practices. The desk or focal point should also be placed relatively high within the institutional hierarchy to ensure they can authorize and implement proposed changes as needed.