GUJRAT: The first Women and Juvenile Facilitation Centre has been established in Gujrat in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the police, while it has been funded by the Norwegian government.

The centre has been established in a newly constructed building adjacent to the Police Khidmat Markaz and is modeled as per international standards and provides elaborate services to women and juvenile victims of violence. The centre is said to be the first of its kind in Punjab.

Gujranwala Regional Police Officer (RPO) Tariq Abbas Qureshi and UNODC Country Representative Jeremy Milsom jointly inaugurated the centre on Tuesday where Gujrat District Police Officer Syed Touseef Haider, UNODC Pakistan criminal justice adviser Jouhaida Hanano, women principals of private and public schools and representatives of the civil society were attended the inaugural ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, the RPO said the centre provided an enabling and compassionate environment for reporting, recording and investigation of crimes against women and children, who would often become victims of domestic or sexual abuse.

Reporting, investigation of domestic, sexual abuse under one roof

He added that the in-house facilities for victims included first aid services, psychosocial support, legal consultation, protection, referral and rehabilitation for which the UNODC had provided a series of training to women police officers of Gujrat.

Sub-Inspector Farzana Kausar has been appointed as the first head of the centre with most of the staff being policewomen. There are two separate bedrooms – one each for women and juveniles -- furnished with air conditioners and heaters with a total capacity of at least 18 people at a time.

Assistant Sub-Inspector Saima, a law graduate, has been deputed as a legal consultant, a doctor appointed for preparing medical reports and examination of the victims, and a woman psychiatrist.

The victims will be sent to the recording and investigation room where audio and video recording of their statements will be made followed by other legal procedures that have been made available under one roof.

The UNODC is also going to launch an awareness campaign in local educational institutions from Wednesday (today) aimed at educating female students regarding domestic and sexual abuse and how and where to report these incidents.

Meanwhile, two e-learning centres were also inaugurated in the Gujrat and Gujranwala police lines on Tuesday and the funds for both provided by the Norwegian government with technical support provided by the UNODC.

Speaking at the ceremony, the UNODC’s Jeremy Milsom said that so far the UN agency had established at least 55 e-learning centres in Pakistan in close collaboration with 20 law enforcement agencies LEAs. He said that the E-Learning programme of UNODC was aimed at supporting the existing training methods to strengthen the human resource capacity of the LEAs so they could deal with the challenges of detection and prevention of crime.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2019

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