Related Tools

Invest in careful planning and methodology design

Last edited: December 29, 2011

This content is available in


Key steps in planning, implementing and evaluating police training initiatives include:

  • Conduct a training needs assessment preferably with the participation of or in close collaboration with police or military leaders and personnel. This should identify current practices of personnel, gather community perspectives on their work to address violence against women, and assess specific gaps in the knowledge, awareness and skills of staff. See for example, the needs assessment used to inform a UNICEF-supported training for the Karnataka State Police (India).

  • Conduct a situational analysis, reviewing the role of security institutions/actors in prevention and response. This may involve compiling policies, protocols and standard operating procedures for police response and investigation of incidents, both cases perpetrated by civilians as well as by members of the police or armed forces. Analyze reported cases of violence and their progress. For example, it is important to include closed cases and note: reason for case closure (e.g. arrest/exception - such as death, unable to find/identify suspect; unfounded-insufficient evidence to prove or disprove report; false-report was fabricated, or suspended- ongoing cold-case). This information can help to understand how a police department is handling both outside and internal reports and identify relevant knowledge and skills needed when planning a training programme.

  • The training approach should be participatory and promote many opportunities for individual and collective learning, reflection, and discussion with practical exercises using a variety of methods involving partner, small and large group work, for example:

    • Brainstorming exercises (e.g. the causes and consequences of violence)

    • Role plays and simulated exercises (e.g. practicing steps to follow when receiving and interviewing survivors)

    • Discussion and problem-solving activities around a hypothetical case study or topic (e.g. interviewing techniques)                     

    • Practicing real-life scenarios and cases (e.g. receiving survivors; responding to a domestic violence call for assistance)

    For example, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations has developed a scenario-based training module on Prevention and Response to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, which includes four different scenarios for trainees to discuss related to military responses in receiving survivors, planning actions in response to various incidents of conflict-related sexual violence based on the context in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Background information, including a video and guidance for trainers is included within the module.
    • Fish-bowl’ exercises, where select participants enact a role-play, which becomes the basis for a group discussion on the process/ actions observed     

    • Take-home assignments, such as creating a role play or responding to a specific case

    • Using audio-visual materials (e.g. videos, television broadcasts, posters, etc)

For example, the United States Military’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office has developed specific training videos on sexual assault and accompanying guides for in-service military personnel. See the Department of Defense Video "Your Actions Make a Difference" and companion training guide.
    • Individual and collaborative exercises in phrasing questions (e.g. preparing a series of appropriate questions for interviewing trafficking survivor or partners creating examples of appropriate and inappropriate dialogues between police and survivors)
    • Games to develop listening skills (e.g. recalling a series of events related to a specific case of abuse; identifying safety concerns expressed by a woman or girl reporting an incident) 
  • Trainers and facilitators should have expertise on the issue, and relevant professional, institutional, or cultural background to build a relationship of trust and legitimacy and effectively engage participants (Farrell, 2011).
  • In some cases, it is useful to engage different practitioners to contribute to a training session (e.g. a lawyer on relevant legal provisions on violence against women; prosecutors on gathering and documenting evidence; a doctor to discuss the health implications of violence and potential treatment issues to be considered by police responding to incidents). This can increase the credibility of the information delivered to trainees. 

Example: Police training course on domestic violence (Male, Maldives)

 In 2005, the Ministry of Gender Family Development and Social Security, supported by the British Council, organized training for police officers of different ranks in Male on addressing violence against women including domestic violence with an overall aim to improve the services provided to survivors. The course aimed to enable participants to:

  • Clearly understand violence against women, particularly domestic violence as a critical issue.

  • Understand gender and its relationship to violence.

  • Identify victims of domestic violence.

  • Communicate with victims in a proper and un-intimidating way.

  • Advocate strategies to eliminate domestic violence.

  • Share their knowledge with colleagues.

Participants included 20 police officers (from the Family and Child Protection Unit, the uniformed police, and an officer from the forensic department), with the majority of officers of constable rank along with 1 sergeant, 2 corporals and 2 lance corporals from the capital city.

The training involved informal lectures and small group work for the participants to discuss and provide feedback, as well as guest speakers including:

  • a counsellor who provided an in-depth case study,
  • a medical doctor who presented several case studies and outlined health implications,

  • a representative of the Maldives Police Service highlighting local police issues, and

  • lawyers who discussed the law in the Maldives and its implications for investigating domestic violence.

Since its first launch in 2005, the training has been mainstreamed within a one-year Diploma in Police Studies, designed by the Police Academy and accredited by the Maldives Accreditation Board. In addition to the course on domestic violence, the Diploma covers modules such as forensic science, criminology, modern concepts of criminal investigations, law and procedure, police ethics and accountability, leadership and police management and child abuse.

Source: Maldives Police website; Gregg L. 2005. ‘Educating Police in Domestic Violence and Violence Against Women’. Maldives Government.

  • Training should be carefully evaluated: In addition to collaborative planning methods that allow participant feedback into the design and content of the course, programmes should integrate activities before, during and after the training to measure any contributions that may be associated with the training on the knowledge, attitudes and (over the mid- to long-term) practices of individuals and units to ensure the relevance and effectiveness of trainings. Methods for evaluating the results of training include:

    • pre-post tests (i.e. a baseline and an evaluation of participant learning outcomes),which should be tailored to the specific learning objectives and materials covered in the training)

    • post-training observation visits or qualitative techniques such as most-significant change (See also the monitoring and evaluation section of this module).

    • personnel assessments, which are important to measure application of practices promoted by gender-based violence trainings in the workplace; monitor progress in knowledge and skills developed on the issue; and demonstrate commitment to the issue as a valued component of professional development.

    • participant evaluations, which enable trainees to provide feedback on the approach, content and overall experience of a training programme.

Sample pre-post assessment questions related to understanding violence against women and responding to incidents

  1. Name five different forms of violence against women.

  2. Name five physical and/or psychological effects of sexual violence on a survivor.

  3. What are three responsibilities of police in addressing gender-based violence?

  4. What are three reasons that a woman or girl may not want to file a case with police?

  5. Explain why it is important for police to get consent before interviewing a survivor?

  6. Give two examples of appropriate questions to ask a survivor to learn about the incident being reported during the interview process.

  7. How can a police officer demonstrate active listening skills?

  8. What can police personnel do to help survivors feel confident to tell them what happened, and ask for help?

  9. Describe how to conduct safety planning with a survivor.

  10. Name at three other sectors/ agencies that police should engage when responding to an incident of domestic violence.

Adapted from: IASC Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility Working Group, 2010. Caring for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Emergencies Training Pack- Pre-Post Assessment. GBVAOR. New York; UNFPA. 2009. Advanced Training of Trainers Workshop- Supporting Survivors of Violence: Pre-Post Test. UNFPA and Ministry of Social Affairs. Nyala.


Example: Post-training Feedback Questions

Please rate on a score of 1-5 (1 = poor, 5 = excellent)

1. Value of this topic in relation to my job ____

2. Usefulness of the course content ____

3. Presentation methods used ____

4. Trainer’s ability to transfer knowledge ____

5. Atmosphere conducive to participation ____

6. My opinions were taken into consideration ____

7. Value of the Fact Sheets ____

8. Relevance of the Worksheets ____

Please answer the following questions in your own words:

9. Have you suggestions about additions to the course?

10. Is there anything you think should have been dropped from the course?

11. What did you enjoy most about the course?

12. What did you dislike most about the course?

13. What aspect of the course did you find most useful?

14. What aspect of the course did you find least useful?

15. Was the course   ____a) Too long      ____ b) Too short      ____ c) The right length

16. Do you have any comments to make about the logistic arrangements for the course (e.g. room, food)?

17. Do you have any other comments to make?

Extracted from: Tõnisson Kleppe, T. 2008. ‘Gender Training for Security Sector Personnel: Good Practices and Lessons Learned Tool 12’, Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit. Eds. Megan Bastick and Kristin Valasek. Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIHR, UN INSTRAW.

See also  

In-Service Training Program Evaluation Form (Turkey Police with UNFPA). Available in Turkish.


Promising practice: Design of Karnataka Police - UNICEF training on violence against women and children (India) 

In 2001, UNICEF launched the Gender Sensitization and Police-friendly Project, which developed a training module focusing on violence against women and children involving over 500 police personnel, from the Director-General and Inspector-General to police constables in remote stations. It was supported by resource persons and women’s and children’s organizations across the State. In 2003, the in-service training process began and, in 2005, the project was expanded to cover police training schools and academies. By 2007, a project had developed in eight districts of north Karnataka and in Bangalore, and focused on preventing trafficking of women and children and other forms of violence against them.

In recognition of the need to be pro-active in addressing violence against women, the Karnataka police committed to providing training to its officers.  By December 2006, over 2,800 police personnel had been trained in workshops, including 327 probationary sub-inspectors, and 754 probationary constables.

The training design began with documentation of procedures and police interactions in cases related to women and children. Conducted in 10 police stations in Bangalore over a 6-week period, the review revealed:

  • Very few cases related to women and children reported to police were registered

  • Counselling was often seen as a substitute for registration of cases (i.e. police saw their role as counsellors in domestic cases rather than upholders of the law).

  • The prevalent attitude of most officers was to minimize the violence incident, which denied the complainant’s right to legal justice (this included cases where the complainant insisted on registration, but the police did not support the request)

  • Police personnel were more sympathetic towards children’s issues compared with their responses to women

  • Violence against women and children was not seen as part of ‘mainstream’ activities of the local station, but were often referred to the women’s police station.

  • The limited powers of the women’s police stations, as well as the abdication of responsibility by the system, overall, resulted in further injustice to complainants

In response, a three-day workshop was designed with input from officers as follows:

Day I: 

Session 1        Questionnaire on women and children (completed at start of the training)

Session 2        ‘Redefining the Role of the Police’: introduction by senior police officer

Session 3        Introductory ‘icebreaker’ session with all participants

Session 4        Group exercise emphasizing the role of the police

Session 5        Simulation game to refresh the participants

Session 6        ‘Gender and Power Relations – an Institutional Analysis of Violence’

Session6a       Group work on gender relations

Session 7        Administrative and workshop related issues

Session 8        Screening of appropriate film

Day II: 

Session 1        Review by the participants of the previous day’s sessions

Session 2        ‘Rights of children and responsibilities of police – legislation & procedures.’

Session 2a      Group exercise to understand children’s rights

Session 3        Presentation by a children’s collective/ organization working with children

Session 4        Simulation game to refresh the participants

Session 5        ‘Violence against women: legislation, procedures, issues before police

Session 6        Sharing of experiences by a women’s organization

Session 7        Counselling skills in police work–to help complainants and understand when specialized support is required

Session 8        Performance by a local theatre/cultural group on violence against women 

Day III:

Session 1        Review by the participants of previous day’s sessions

Session 2        Game on resource distribution and attitudes

Session 3        ‘HIV/AIDS and interactions between the police and public’

Session 3a      Simulation to understand gender and sexuality, through power relations

Session 4        ‘Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and issues before the police’

Session 5        Game to refresh participants

Session 6        ‘Public Perceptions and Police Behaviour’

Session 7        Sharing of experiences and participant feedback, including a repeat distribution and collection of the women and children questionnaire

Session 8        Cultural programme by participants and distribution of certificates

Based on the success of the project, the Karnataka State Police committed to including violence against women training in the curriculum for new recruits in the State’s six police training schools.

See the Training and Resource Manual for Police Personnel (Karnataka State Police and UNICEF, 2003).

Source: Karnataka State Police and UNICEF (2007), The Gender Sensitisation and People-friendly Police Project.


Case Study: Training on assisting domestic violence survivors in Honduras

In 2002, the National Institute for Women and the Ministry of Security in Honduras collaborated with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to design and institutionalize training for police to ensure that the 1997 Law Against Domestic Violence was properly implemented; upholding women’s rights and ensuring survivors have access to recourse and services. Classes on domestic and interfamily violence were incorporated into ongoing training in the 3 police education centres - the Police Instruction Centre, the National Police Academy and the Superior Police Education Centre. By the end of the initial 3-year pilot period, 6,529 students and active police members - 5,624 men and 905 women – had successfully completed the modules. The course evolved from a pilot to an ongoing institutionalized component in the police education centres in which every police officer throughout the country (approximately 1,500 men and women per year) received comprehensive training on domestic violence, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health.

The training contributed to:

  • a better understanding of women’s issues such as sexual and reproductive health among the police, including chiefs and high-ranking officials;

  • greater self-awareness reported by female police participants on their own experiences with or witnessing of abuse;

  • increased understanding and reflection reported by male personnel related to their own abusive behaviour in their families and their homes;

  • greater understanding of domestic violence among veteran police officers, particularly in regards to dispelling myths related to violence against women; and

  • improved capacity to prevent and respond to domestic violence, with increased credibility of officers among survivors and others at-risk.

Read the full Case Study.  

See a video on the police training programme.

Source: United Nations Population Fund, (2008) Programming to Address Violence Against Women: 8 case studies (volume 2). UNFPA. New York.


Key Tools:

‘Needs assessment toolkit on the criminal justice response to human trafficking’ (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2010).This toolkit was developed by UNODC within the framework of the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. It aims is to provide comprehensive guidance for assessing the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons in a given State. The toolkit broadens the scope of traditional criminal justice responses by including all relevant actors and measures involved in appropriately prosecuting the perpetrators and adequately assisting the victims of trafficking in persons. A Training Needs Assessment Questionnaire is provided in Annex A which can be used specifically to assess the training needs of security Sector Institutions dealing with trafficking or could be adapted to address training needs for preventing and responding to other forms of violence against women and girls. (See also guidance and tools in needs assessment section in planning and design) Available in English.

Caring for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Emergencies Training Pack (IASC Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility Working Group, 2010). This training manual is designed for professional health care providers such as physicians, health workers as well as for members of the legal profession, police, women's groups and other service providers working with and supporting survivors of sexual violence. The training pack includes a training guide; participant and facilitator manuals, power points and handouts. Available in English.  

Gender and Security Sector Reform Training Resource Package: Monitor and evaluate the training (DCAF, 2009). Part of a larger training resource package, the materials are for trainers and facilitators. The resource provides a brief overview of methods to monitor and evaluate security sector trainings. Available in English.