How Women’s Police Stations Empower Women, Widen Access to Justice and Prevent Gender Violence


Women’s police stations are a distinctive innovation that emerged in postcolonial nations of the global south in the second half of the twentieth century to address violence against women. This article presents the results of a world-first study of the unique way that these stations, called Comisaría de la Mujer, prevent gender-based violence in the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. One in five police stations in this Province was established with a mandate of preventing gender violence. Little is currently known about how this distinctive multidisciplinary model of policing (which includes social workers, lawyers, psychologists and police) widens access to justice to prevent gender violence. This article compares the model’s virtues and limitations to traditional policing models. We conclude that specialised women’s police stations in the postcolonial societies of the global south increase access to justice, empower women to liberate themselves from the subjection of domestic violence and prevent gender violence by challenging patriarchal norms that sustain it. As a by-product, these women’s police stations also offer women in the global south a career in law enforcement—one that is based on a gender perspective. The study is framed by southern criminology, which reverses the notion that ideas, policies and theories can only travel from the anglophone world of the global north to the global south.

The article has been kindly translated into Spanish by one of the authors María Victoria Puyol - and can be viewed in both English and Spanish

Cómo las Comisarias de la Mujer empoderan a las mujeres, amplían el acceso a la justicia y previenen la violencia de género

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2020-02-25
Pages:42 to 67
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How to Cite
Carrington, K., Guala, N., Puyol, M. V. and Sozzo, M. (2020) “How Women’s Police Stations Empower Women, Widen Access to Justice and Prevent Gender Violence”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 9(1), pp. 42-67. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v9i1.1494.

Author Biographies

Queensland University of Technology

Kerry Carrington is Head of the School of Justice Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia.

Universidad Nacional del Litoral

Natacha Guala, Lecturer Facultad de Jurídicas y Sociales, Universidad Nacional de Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina

Queensland University of Technology

María Victoria Puyol, HDR Student, School of Justice Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Universidad Nacional del Litoral

Máximo Sozzo is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral (Santa Fe, Argentina). He is Director of the MA in Criminology, Director of the Program for University Education inside Prisons and Director of the Social Involvement Program "Crime and Society" at the same university. He has been adjunct and associate professor of sociology and criminology at various Argentinean universities during the last ten years. As a visiting professor he has taught graduate courses in criminology at several universities in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Spain. He has been visiting research fellow at the universities of Bologna, Toronto, Barcelona and FLACSO Ecuador. He has been consultant on issues related to crime and punishment for different national and local governments and international organizations. His research over the last fifteen years has related to different themes in the field of criminology: police violence and accountability, police reform, crime prevention discourses and practices, history of psychiatry and criminal justice, cultural travels of discourses and practices on crime control, history of criminology and metamorphosis of prison and crime control in late modernity. He has published on these themes four books and many book chapters and essays in academic journals.