8 March 2021
AMMAN: Significant gender divides still exist in women’s access to police and protection services in Amman, a public perception survey published by Siren Associates on International Women’s Day 2021 has found.
The survey, which took place in April 2020 and was just cleared for release by the Public Security Directorate, revealed that only 40% of women in the Jordanian capital have ever visited a police station, compared to 77% of men.
It also showed that 45% of women are concerned about domestic violence and that 53% of women and men worry about online crime, including harassment and blackmail. Yet only a quarter of people in Amman would advise a female domestic violence survivor to report it to the police. Just over a third would encourage doing nothing. This stands in stark contrast to reporting levels for theft and physical assault that top 90%.
Simply increasing the availability of women police officers would contribute to a significant rise in in-person reporting. Seventy percent of women respondents said they would be more likely to consider going to the police if there were easier access to a police woman.
Work needs to be done at the community level to normalise women’s engagement with the police. Overall, 57% of Amman residents think that most families in their area prefer women to stay away from police stations. Men are more likely to think this than women.
Outreach could also be improved. Four out of five Amman residents have never head of Local Security Councils and how they can facilitate coordination and joint working between communities and the police. Two thirds are unaware of the PSD’s mobile application, which includes a crime reporting function.
Siren conducted this survey as part of its Shoulder to Shoulder project. This project – funded by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry – supports the PSD’s engagement with local communities and has a specific focus on social cohesion.
The survey notably found that 65% of Amman residents feel that community safety has not changed with the arrival of large numbers of refugees. Almost 80% of Syrian respondents also stated that they feel broadly accepted in Jordan.
Findings from the survey have already informed Siren’s project activities. Supported through Shoulder to Shoulder, the Community Police have, for example, recently finished an outreach initiative involving 15 Jordanian and Syrian young people. Together, they will go on to develop and share social media videos and messages on key community safety issues identified in the survey.
Siren is also actively reaching out to stakeholders working on gender-based violence and interpersonal cybercrime in Jordan to build a system-wide understanding of the challenges and opportunities around improving prevention and response strategies. Please get in touch by email for more information, or if you would like to engage with us on further research.