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
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