The Course “International Aspects & Experiences of Domestic Violence”, which was held at the GNR School, in Queluz, Portugal, on 5-8 July 2011, was organised by the Portuguese National Republican Guard and supported by Cyprus and Sweden.
Domestic Violence (or Gender Violence, Family Violence,...) is a complex phenomenon that has attracted increased awareness from the public, due to the serious consequences involved, no longer allowed by social conscience and citizenship, thus leading law enforcement agencies to develop adapted measures, which requires a specialized police intervention, not only in terms of investigating complaints but also in terms of victim support.
In order to contribute to a safer Europe, and to exchange experiences on this specific field, under the jurisdiction of CEPOL, the Portuguese CEPOL team organised a course with a target group composed of trainers and senior police officers playing a key role in dealing with the Domestic Violence phenomenon in law enforcement authorities in EU Member States and cooperating countries. The ambitious overall aim was directed at advancing law enforcement and training standards by providing specialised knowledge and sharing experiences on policing domestic violence. For that purpose, the following objectives were set out:
- To increase knowledge on national and international aspects of Domestic Violence (DV);
- To present and discuss the main problems related with tackling Domestic Violence from a police point of view;
- To update information on the application of the CEPOL DV Common Curriculum (Certificates and Train the Trainers Course);
- To share innovative programmes designed to tackle this specific crime;
- To present specific programmes aimed at treating offenders;
- To identify trends relating to control of DV recurrence;
- To share knowledge, best practices and establish an ongoing network with other colleagues on the course.
Involved in the course were 25 representatives from 16 Member States and four lecturers from three Member States. The activities for the course were complemented by workshops where the participants had the chance to exchange their knowledge and experience, thus serving the purpose of having as much interactivity as possible on the matters being discussed.
Available EU statistics on the prevalence of the problem indicate that DV is a world-wide epidemic. Studies show that between one quarter and one half of all women in the world have been abused by intimate partners. Worldwide, 50-60% of all female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner.
These figures lead to a serious reflection on tackling this specific problem, from a police point of view. This was attempted during the four days of the course, by complying with the designed programme in a successful way, as the objectives were achieved, and the methodology served its purposes.
The dynamics accomplished during the presentations and workshops, and the changing from a room environment to a natural environment, facilitated the way participants delivered their work and got involved in discussions based on the provided guidelines, and other relevant subjects.
The resources met the participants’ needs, and some added their own valuable materials which mainly consisted of documents relating to recent legislation on the topic, annual studies about DV victims and an example of data related to intimate partner violence risk police assessment, therefore sharing with others the national approaches on these topics.
After analyzing the results of the course evaluation, it is clear that the majority of participants found the content, the resources provided, the methodology applied, the language level motivating, inspired collaboration and active participation, helpful to learn and add value to their professional practice.