16th April 2021
Beyond Criminalising Gender Violence: Are women-centred police stations a viable alternative?
Speaker: Professor Kerry Carrington, QUT
Chaired by Professor Michele Burman, University of Glasgow
The criminalisation of gender violence comes with many costs. In an era of scepticism about the carceral state, and critique of the role of carceral feminism in its growth, alternatives to the criminalisation of gender violence are urgent.
Our research team looked for inspiration to re-imagine the policing of gender violence, from the victim-centred women-led police stations that emerged in Latin America in the 1980s. Framed by southern criminology the project aims to redress the biases in the global hierarchy of knowledge, by reversing the notion that policy transfer can only flow from the countries of the Global North to the Global South.
By emphasising a community based preventative over a punitive approach, we argue that Argentina’s specialist police stations designed to receive victims/survivors of gender violence offer an alternative beyond criminalisation. The multi-disciplinary teams of police, social workers, psychologists and lawyers offer a gateway to a range of supports instead of just funnelling victims into the criminal justice system.
In the process, victims/survivors retain their autonomy from the state, side-stepping some of the serious unintended consequences of the criminalisation of domestic violence (Goodmark 2018).
As a by-product police who work in these specialised stations in the global south have access to rewarding careers in a women-led policing hierarchy that challenges the masculinist culture of front-line policing, at its institutional roots.