From where I stand: “Police officers must protect the safety of citizens”

Suvada Kuldija is a Senior Inspector at the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Canton Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a police officer, Kuldija often works with survivors of domestic violence. She believes in the importance of educating colleagues and first responders in how to address violence against women and domestic violence cases.


Suvada Kuldija. Photo: UN Women/Imrana Kapetanović
Suvada Kuldija. Photo: UN Women/Imrana Kapetanović

Survivors of domestic violence expect protection and help from the police. However, sometimes they don’t know their own rights. Survivors often lack complete information on what constitutes protective measures. For example, they let the perpetrator into their house.

I believe we need more awareness raising activities when it comes to reporting violence. Everything I do aims at providing the best education for police officers.

Police officers must protect the safety of citizens and their property. Their job is complex. Law enforcement professionals need to be sensitized to the individual situations of the domestic violence survivors and understand their motives and choices.

The Law on Protection from Domestic Violence says that a request for protective measures must be filed within 12 hours of the reported case, and the Court must order protective measures within 12 hours. After the Court’s decision, the police devise a plan for how to ensure the protective measures are implemented.

Multi-sectoral training on this issue is extremely important. Many individuals and institutions must work together and quickly in handling domestic violence cases. Police first ensure the identification and reporting of the perpetrator. They undertake appropriate collection of evidence. This results in a suitable sentence for the perpetrator, and determines the help and care of the survivor at a safe house. Social workers and an expert team then assist the survivors.

All the institutions in the protection system are important, and if one fails to protect the survivor, their safety is threatened.”

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Suvada Kuldija is the former President of the “Women Police Officers Network”. She is also the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Canton Sarajevo. As the Senior Inspector at the Education Section, she develops and offers training for police officers. One of the topics covered is domestic violence where she educates police officers about the issue, and trains them in how to respond to domestic violence cases, and how to help survivors in accordance with the law.Her work reflects the aims of  Sustainable Development Goal 16, which is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions.

This story was originally published on UN Women's regional website for Europe and Central Asia