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A Promising Practice: Empowering Internal Security Forces to Play a Positive Role in Responding to GBV

Since 2012, and in partnership with local NGO, KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation, UNFPA Lebanon has embarked on a groundbreaking initiative aiming at filling a gap within the police academy by institutionalizing a curriculum to the Internal Security Forces (ISF) through equipping them with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary for them to adequately handle cases of violence against women (VAW) and girls.

The first phase of the project resulted in a number of concrete achievements such as the development and piloting of a curriculum on VAW targeting the ISF, the development of a corresponding training manual, and the development of a manual on communication skills for dealing with survivors of VAW.

In the second phase of the project, a series of training workshops were conducted and by July 2013 a total of 175 ISF officers were trained on the VAW curriculum as well as on communication and counseling skills. In parallel, women friendly spaces were established at 12 police stations across Lebanon through the provision of beds for forensic medical examination and of office/IT equipment for enhancing VAW management information system. UNFPA also supported a study tour for selected police officers and KAFA staff to Sweden in order to get exposed to the Swedish experience in terms of laws and police regulations and procedures for addressing VAW in view of the model holistic approach that Sweden enjoys. 

In parallel, and on the legislative level, UNFPA supported a successful media campaign (using billboards, unipoles, newspaper/TV ads and social media) in July 2013 advocating for the endorsement of the Draft Law to Protect Women from Domestic Violence.

So far a number of founding stones are laid: the training curriculum on VAW is institutionalized within the Police Academy, it has become a part of the ISF mandatory training material, an internal ISF memorandum was issued on “the protocol for receiving and communicating with victims of family violence”, a core team of trainers is in place and 175 ISF officers were equipped to respond appropriately to the needs of women and girls. UNFPA and partners will pursue their efforts by raising awareness on the new mandate of ISF through a media campaign, among other.