Increasing access to and trust in the Police to ensure children and women in Rajasthan are safe
For generations the women and girls residing in some of the most marginalized communities across Rajasthan have faced systemic oppression governed by a patriarchal society. They are continually having to face unsafe environments making it imperative that access to the police and efficient reporting systems is easy and safe. Our primary objective was to bridge the wide gap that existed between the community and the police. It quickly became clear that this could be achieved by addressing the lack of trust in and accessibility to the police, which was made worse by a lack of accountability by the police.
Suraksha Sakhis have been trained as of now
trafficked police thanas across Rajasthan have trained with us
police officers have capacity built with us to respond to the safety issues of women and children appropriately, adequately and in a time sensitive manner
SAFETY SESSIONS BETWEEN THE POLICE AND COMMUNITY WOMEN
What We Did - The Suraksha Scheme
On one hand, community women were not only hesitant to approach the police but also did not have the knowledge or the confidence to collect and share the problems they were experiencing. On the other hand, we observed that the police force lacked the necessary training to listen and respond to these women in an appropriate way.
We tackled the problem in a holistic manner by working with both the police and the women to anticipate, prevent and respond to incidents of harm. As a result of our sustained advocacy efforts, Aangan was appointed as the official training partner of the Rajasthan Police. We helped implement the Suraksha Scheme across 10 police districts of Rajasthan. The primary goal of this scheme is to facilitate community policing by building women’s safety panels or ‘Suraksha Sakhis’ who are attached to every police station in order to swiftly address all their issues and concerns.
How We Did It
Our Suraksha Sakhi training involved 3 main components:
How to best identify harm in their communities and how to facilitate dialogue with their community members to best gauge the occurrence and extent of harm.
How to initiate constructive conversations with the police so that they are able to efficiently articulate the issues being faced in their communities.
How to best represent the unique hyperlocal information they possess in order to ensure that any critical safety issues are not overlooked any longer.
Additionally, to facilitate effective community policing, Aangan is playing an active role in supporting the Police to identify gaps and build systems and processes that are efficient and sensitive to the real-time issues faced by these women. To ensure preparedness, we have also developed curriculum tools that they refer to while holding meetings with their Suraksha Sakhi panels.
An example of the change that Suraksha Sakhis brought:
In the district of Alwar, situated in the northwestern region of Rajasthan, the police and Suraksha Sakhis have established robust reporting systems. This has been achieved through regular meetings where they address various issues concerning the community.
During one such meeting, the police were informed about certain areas where men were frequently observed gambling in public. The Suraksha Sakhis were able to pinpoint the exact locations where this activity was occurring and clearly articulate the potential risks involved, particularly in regards to the safety of children. They shared how children were missing school and instead, spending time observing these men gamble.
The meeting was attended by the Alwar District Superintendent of Police, District Magistrate, and Station House Officer. As a result of the information provided, these officials were able to take immediate action. They ordered police officers to enter the community in plain clothes to prevent the men from assembling in public spaces to gamble. The Suraksha Sakhis have reported that the men have ceased gambling in public spaces and the community is now much safer for children.
This collaborative effort between the police and Suraksha Sakhis has highlighted the importance of regular engagement with the community in addressing issues related to women and child safety. The community now trusts the police more and approaches them with their issues unhesitatingly. The partnership between girls and women who were previously not allowed to go out of their houses with the police to make their communities safer is a significant achievement in itself. The success of this initiative demonstrates the power of community engagement in ensuring the safety of future generations.
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