Police Violations of the Rights of Persons on the Basis of Racial and Gender Identity
Police violations of the rights of persons on the basis of racial and gender identity are global and ingrained practices of serious concern. Such violations include extrajudicial killings, torture and ill-treatment, sexual assault and rape, invasion of privacy, arbitrary detention, deprivation of work and education, and serious discrimination in the enjoyment of other rights and freedoms. These kinds of violations are often exacerbated by other forms of violence, hatred, discrimination and rejection, including on the basis of race, age, religion, disability, economic or social status, or other circumstance.
Police violations in the United States include injuries and death after a stun gun, as a result of a collision with a police car, or after a fight in a police station. At the same time, the statistics of the race of people affected by the police indicate that half of them are representatives of national minorities (Chan & Mirchandani, 2002). Given the amendment to the percentage, it turns out that representatives of the non-whites of the US population are more likely to experience police violations (Rengifo & Pater, 2017).
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This is especially noticeable in the case of the black population, in which police shoot 2.5 times more often than whites. African Americans, including women, represent only 13% of the population of the United States, while they make up 26% of all deaths at the hands of the police (Rengifo & Pater, 2017). Refugee women and migrants face more high risk of police violence. Risk assessment for women and girls of color among refugees and migrants revealed cases of offenses, sexual and gender-based violence by the police.
Police Violence in the Context of Race and Gender
Similar to hate crimes, the individual or collective police violence against women is directed at a specific group on a base of race and gender identity. The theory of intersectionality has been, and often remains, focused on identity, where “race, class, and gender” identities are often viewed as oppression, which everyone experiences in different ways and to varying degrees – in the sense that no one is free from identity (Crenshaw, 1991).
In cases where police officers use their position and engage in physical or sexual violence towards women, it is much more difficult for victims to report the abuse. In addition, there are a number of administrative barriers to improve efficiency of services working with police violence. In case of insufficient communication with the judiciary, they will not be able to bring to court the complaints of women who have decided to contact them. There is a minimal amount of specialized instructions on methods of handling complaints. As usual, the attention of statistics is aimed at tracking the submitted applications, but not necessarily on the result of their consideration or on other types of violence against women (Chan & Mirchandani, 2002).
Human rights activists have reported numerous cases of psychological, physical and sexual abuse of women by law enforcement officials. Factors associated with police violence based on racial and gender identity exist at the level of individuals, families and communities, as well as broader levels of society (Crenshaw, 1991). Some factors are related to perpetrators, others to victims of violence, and still others concern both.
- low levels of education;
- childhood abuse;
- observed violence in the relationship between parents (the commission of violence and exposure to violence);
- antisocial personality disorder (sexual abuse);
- alcohol and drug abuse;
- ignorance of their rights and tolerance of violence and gender inequality (Novisky & Peralta, 2015).
Police violence against women based on racial and gender identity and significant structural and societal problem arising from the inequality of power relations between women and men, and therefore promotes the active participation of men in actions aimed at combating violence against women (Rengifo & Pater, 2017).
- To assist all relevant institutions involved in combating police violence against women (police departments and agencies, medical, social and public institutions) in the formulation of medium-term and long-term action plans, which include measures to prevent violence and protect victims of violence (Hutchinson, 2018).
- To promote research, information gathering and the creation of information networks at the national and international levels (Novisky & Peralta, 2015).
- Facilitate the creation of higher education programs and research centers, including at the level of universities that study equality issues, in particular the issues of combating violence against women (Chan & Mirchandani, 2002).
- Improve the interaction between the scientific community, non-governmental organizations involved in these issues, politicians and legislative, health authorities, educational, public and police officers in order to develop coordinated measures to combat violence (Novisky & Peralta, 2015).
- Take and implement the measures described in the annex to this Recommendation in such a way that they consider most appropriate in the light of national circumstances and preferences, and for this purpose consider the establishment of a national plan of action to combat violence against women (Harris, 2018).
In many states and societies, gender identity norms are imposed on people through custom, law, and violence, and attempts are made to control interpersonal relationships and self-identification (Chan & Mirchandani, 2002). The primary cause of violence against women is gender inequality and acceptability of such violence in society. In addition, risk factors specific to police violence include ideologies of the male dominant; weak legal sanctions for committing violence (Novisky & Peralta, 2015).
Police attitudes toward sexuality remain one of the main factors for continuing gender-based violence and persistent gender inequalities. There has been notable progress in the international community towards ensuring racial and gender equality and safeguards against violence in society, in the community and in the family (Harris, 2018). Nevertheless, the response to violations of rights and freedoms based on racial and gender identity remains fragmented and unsystematic.
Newly introduced cameras, mandatory to record the behavior of police officers during arrest, are a sign of the transformation of the modern police system (Novisky & Peralta, 2015). In recent years, wearable cameras have begun to actively use law enforcement agencies in Britain and the United States, largely in response to the increasing accusations of racism by representatives of the law. The cameras create a balance in the relationship between the police officer and the suspect, increasing the level of responsibility of both parties.