Special Police Units are engaged in Domestic Violence prevention issues


The OSCE Office in Tajikistan is working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) ofTajikistanon the overall process of Police Reform. At the same time, the Office is focusing on key issues in day-to-day policing, such as strengthening police officers' investigative techniques in combating trafficking in human beings and in promoting greater awareness of the international human rights standards that cover every stage of the criminal justice process. 

In August 2010, the Minister of Internal Affairs inaugurated the first two police units of the MIA especially equipped to work with cases of domestic violence. Those two police units are based in Dushanbe, and since then, three more  additional such special units have been established, all through support from the OSCE Office in Tajikistan and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The special units are now functioning in Kulyab (southeast), Kurgan-Tube (south), Khujand (north) and in two districts of Dushanbecity. Each special unit has a female police inspector, specially trained to handle properly cases of domestic violence.

The establishment of special units demonstrates the Ministry of Internal Affairs´ commitment to treating domestic violence as a crime. These special units are closely working with community organizations to support victims of domestic violence, particularly since family violence itself is not classified as a separate criminal offence.

In September 2011 the Ministry of Internal Affairs went further in this direction by establishing a new, Ministry-wide separate incident reporting category on family violence, which has had a landmark effect of raising law enforcement officers' awareness on this endemic problem.

The Ministry has been able, for the first time, to collect data on cases of domestic violence through a new classification system. The data was most recently used in the reports by the Government of Tajikistan in the UN Universal Periodic Review in Geneva. According to this data, approximately 800 cases were registered under the category of family violence in 2011. Of these 800, approximately 250 cases were reported by five special units. It is encouraging that currently the MIA subdivisions all over the country are all reporting on family violence under the special category, and that reports on family violence are not only received by the special units. Further, the Area Police Inspectors together with five special units also identify families at domestic violence risk, which they support through regular monitoring procedures and physical visits, which has contributed to reduce, or eliminate, violence in those families. The special units are unique in Tajikistan, and were also the first of its kind in Central Asia when they were established.  

The Office continues to support capacity building initiatives of police officers, and the whole staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, through annual training sessions on gender and policing, including response by law-enforcement to domestic violence cases. The Office also continues to support the process in which a law on domestic violence has been drafted throughout 2011-2012, in partnership with the Swiss Cooperation Office, UN Women program inTajikistanand many civil society organizations. This Law was approved by Majlisi Namoyandagon (Lower Chamber/Lower House of the Parliament) on 19 December 2012, but officially did not enter into force. 

Together with the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Police Academy), the Office has assisted in the introduction of a training course on investigation processes of human trafficking cases. This course runs as a part of the Police Academy curricula for fourth year students, and is 20 hours long. The students of the Police Academy also attend voluntarily the courses on domestic violence prevention.