Improving policing in the midst of patriarchy

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In India, creating designated women’s help desks in police stations increased the registration of crimes against women, particularly when staffed by female officers.

Key results:

The WHD program led to more registrations of cases of violence against women. Stations with WHDs registered 1.5 civil cases per month on average compared to just 0.05 in stations without WHDs, and they registered 4.4 criminal cases per month on average compared to 3.8 in stations without WHDs.

These increases were driven by woman-run WHDs. While civil case recording increased in both male- and female-led WHDs, criminal case recording increased only in woman-run WHDs.

Female officers became more likely to state a desire to take women’s claims of violence seriously. Female officers were less likely to express the belief that women often file false claims against men after receiving the intervention, but men’s attitudes did not change.

Women’s perceptions of police treatment improved in some stations. Women’s self-reported levels of comfort, satisfaction, and respectful treatment increased in WHD stations with high training and implementation quality.