Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Asma Jahan, spent three months in Australia gathering data on domestic violence (DV) laws, policies and practices around Australia towards assisting the Government of Bangladesh combat gender violence.
Dr Jahan was offered a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia Awards Fellowship, “Developing policies to combat gender violence in South-East Asia,” conducted through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS) and facilitated through the International Business Development Unit at Griffith University.
This Fellowship enabled Dr Jahan to gather data on ‘state of the art’ Australia’s domestic violence reforms, including the development of Model DV Laws, have sought to advance the protection of women and children from DV and provide critical ‘lessons learned’ for Bangladesh’s policy leaders.
Dr Jahan completed residences at Griffith University, University of Queensland and at the Australian National University as well as visits to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council (DVPC) and the Government Australian Institute of Criminology in ACT.
Although gender violence has become a very important issue, very little work has been done to systematically study the legal systems of South Asian countries in the context of increasing incidences of violence against women. Outcomes of the program will be a series of recommendations to make the legal system in Bangladesh more responsive to the changing context, and guidelines for effective policies for government and non-government organisations.
The program was developed by the ARC CEPS, established in 2007 under the ARC Centres of Excellence special initiative to boost policing and security research capacity in Australia amid the growing complexity and internationalisation of transnational crime in the post 9/11 environment. Dr Bull, the Acting Director of CEPS, explained that the ‘DFAT Fellowship was important because it helped to build capacity by sharing expertise in the region’.
CEPS is headquartered at Griffith University in Brisbane, and has numerous partnerships with industry, and Australian and international researchers. The DFAT-funded program drew on these partnerships to connect Dr Jahan with experts in the preventions of intimate partner violence from: the Australian National University; Australian Institute of Crimionlogy; Australian Federal Police; ACT Human Rights Commission; ACT Women’s Legal Centre; ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service; the ACT Family Violence Magistate; the Domestic and Family Violence Program Department of Justice (New South Wales), and the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advcocay Program, Legal Aid NSW.