Queen follows up on family protection progress

Jordan shares family protection know-how with Arab police officers

October 30, 2007

(Jordan Times, Linda Hindi - Amman) Jordan, which has been making progress in working to minimise violence against women, is hosting the first regional training course to strengthen the institutional capability of Arab police officers that deal with domestic violence cases.  

Her Majesty Queen Rania’s participation in the session sent a clear message that addressing the issue remains a top priority for Jordan.

The Queen said Jordan is still at the beginning of the road and would not be satisfied until it has honed methods to make sure that each member of the family is safe.  

She added that she was encouraged by initial progress, since hosting the workshop “is an achievement in itself”.

“Only a few years ago, our people were not talking about the issue which was labelled taboo, embarrassing or too sensitive… but violence happens all over the world however rich or poor you are, living in a city or village. To succeed we must speak out freely,” the Queen said.

Around 40 police officers from 12 Arab countries, who want to learn up-dated methods on handling violence and sexual assault issues while respecting cultural values, are attending the course on “Violence Against Women”, a joint activity between the Public Security Directorate’s (PSD) Family Protection Department (FPD) and UNIFEM.

Warrant Officer Luma Abu Judeh, who facilitated a session on "New Approaches in Interviewing Victims of Violence," said she was surprised at the level of attention given by the participants.

“Police at the workshop were in awe of how in-depth our training is and the complete services we offer to families… even though we feel we are just at the beginning,” Abu Judeh said.

She explained that after family protection was given staunch support by Queen Rania and the PSD, networks started forming between the government and NGOs, making it easier to locate the gaps.

FPD Director Colonel Fadel Humoud told The Jordan Times why he believes the Kingdom is gaining ground in its stance against violence.

He explained that in line with the National Strategic Plan for Family Protection, the Kingdom has developed its own methods that are not imported from non-Arab countries.  

“This is important so we remain true to our culture and religion while educating Jordanians that our goal is to solidify the family unit,” he said, noting that all officers working in his department receive comprehensive training on dealing with victims and all aspects of an abuse case are handled in house.  

The department, the first of its kind in the region, works around-the-clock to serve victims of family violence and sexual abuse.  

Services include 24-hour forensic health checks, “in accordance with Sharia” and emergency psychological counselling.

“We want to make sure that a victim is not victimised twice by having to go through several departments or public hospitals where they are likely to break down and feel ashamed,” he said.

“Whether there are economic issues, substance abuse, psychological problems or anger management… we have developed mechanisms to get to the root of the problems,” Humoud added.

One core issue that affects society, according to Humoud, is the break-down in dialogue between families and those who are “far from religion and misquote and misunderstand Islam”.

“With the essential support Queen Rania has given us, we must continue to spread awareness about what our religion, Islam, is about and strengthen families… Lifestyles have changed, families are busy and do not communicate properly. Neighbours used to stand for each other and extended family lived together… a man would think twice before he abused his wife,” he said.

So far, seven units have been created and within the PSD strategy, all governorates will have a unit by the end of 2008, according to Humoud.

Meanwhile, Queen Rania also visited the Criminal Court yesterday, which initiated the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system in 2003 to videotape statements given by child-abuse victims.

The system enables children to testify in a room adjacent to the court without having to face their alleged abusers.

The Ministry of Justice is working to establish family department units in all the Kingdom’s courts to improve privacy in cases relating to child abuse and domestic violence.