Bangladesh Launches All‑Woman Police Unit to Fight Cyber Crimes Against Women


Nov 18, 2020


Image Credit: Visual Hunt

The Bangladesh police have introduced an all-woman unit to address the rapidly rising instances of online abuse and harassment targeting women.

The decision to launch the all-woman unit is rooted in the idea that women experiencing abuse online will be more comfortable discussing their grievances with women police officers — leading to more crimes being reported. The announcement comes amid growing public discontent over the prevalence of gender-based violence on- and off-line.

“We have different teams working with cyber crime in the police … but many [women] don’t want to approach these areas, that’s why we have created an all-woman team…. We believe that women will be more comfortable to speak to the all-woman team. … the unit will not reveal the names of the women who complain. This will further encourage them,” Benazir Ahmed, inspector general of police, told Reuters.

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With increased digital penetration in Bangladesh, cases of online abuse against women — often sexualized and violent and including cyberstalking, revenge porn, and cyberbullying — have shot up. “It’s easier to target women online rather than in the real world. All you need is a phone,” said Maleka Banu, general secretary of women’s rights group Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, told Al Jazeera.

All-women police units have shown positive results in the past, in terms of increased reportage of crimes against women, especially in South Asian countries like India and Bangladesh. However, despite a rise in women police officers in Bangladesh, women still constitute less than 10% of the police force. So, it might be even more helpful to sensitize the entire police force, irrespective of gender, to on- and off-line violence against women and to train the whole force to address women’s reports empathetically.

Until that time, the police need to ensure the all-woman unit actually has the resources it needs to offer an effective solution, rather than be a hollow, tokenistic move. “Starting an all-female police unit is a good step. But this unit needs to be monitored properly, so that women can reach out to them, or else it won’t create any change,” Banu noted.


Written By Devrupa Rakshit

Devrupa Rakshit is an Associate Editor at The Swaddle. She is a lawyer by education, a poet by accident, a painter by shaukh, and autistic by birth. You can find her on Instagram @devruparakshit.


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