On 30 March in response to the issue of police refusal to take reports of domestic violence (DV) that was raised by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM), the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) stated its stance of zero-tolerance against such misconduct should it take place, and mentioned the measures taken to inform members of the police force at all levels of their duties in DV case management since the implementation of the DV Act on June 1, 1996.
Whilst we appreciate PDRM taking this issue seriously and the information provided related to the issuance of administrative and disciplinary action instructions on domestic violence case management, we would like to seek further clarification on current awareness levels among all PDRM officers of these instructions.
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) would also like to ask PDRM if institutionalised processes have been undertaken to ensure sustainable officer access to and retention of these instructions.
Refusal by police officers to take reports from survivors of gender based violence (GBV) has been a longstanding issue. Police insensitivity as well as lack of knowledge and awareness of GBV and corresponding case management can result in case attrition as survivors decide to either not pursue further action or drop the case entirely.
Such sub-optimal realities can also constitute a key factor that perpetuates under-reporting, due to fear by survivors of re-victimisation or distrust that they will be taken seriously by the police.
It is imperative that PDRM steps up and works to ensure that DV victims and survivors are able to feel safe and comfortable during DV investigation processes. The police is an indispensable part of essential and integrated GBV services for DV.
As such, aside from ensuring high visibility and officer awareness of the issued DV case management and disciplinary action instructions, regular frontliner training that equips frontline officers with knowledge and awareness of GBV and corresponding case management, as well as gender sensitivity, should also be conducted.
We are more than happy to work with PDRM in carrying out collaborative training with all to achieve the common goal of ensuring that DV victims and survivors can access redress in a safe and stigma free manner.
AWAM is an independent feminist non-profit organisation.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Ova.