On the frontline of protecting survivors of violence during COVID-19
“Our beehive operates out of the spotlight, day and night.” affirmed First Lieutenant Ohood Al-Manaseer, an Investigative Officer at the Family Protection Department (FPD) under the Public Security Directorate (PSD). “Our number one priority is to ensure victims of domestic and gender-based violence are protected and supported from the moment they call us” she continues. Since joining the department in 2007, Lt. Al-Manaseer has worked to ensure survivors have 24-hour access to social, administrative, and medical services that they require and remains by their side throughout, including accompanying them to hospital and court hearings.
The daily work of Lt. Al-Manaseer’s unit became even more critical as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the movements of millions of people across Jordan were restricted by the curfew, FPD witnessed a 33% surge in the number of reported cases of domestic and gender-based violence. To address this, FPD had to adopt new approaches to enhance protection services during such challenging circumstances, including the establishment of crisis teams and the fast deployment of women officers to support survivors and vulnerable women and girls across all governorates. Lt. Al-Manaseer and her colleagues started to visit survivors in their homes and, whereas needed, they transferred those at risks to FPD’s shelters to ensure their safety and to distance themselves from their abusers.
“My work is the culmination of a lifelong dream of a career that combined police and humanitarian work,” explained Lt. Al-Manaseer when recalling with a sense of pride her career. Despite the difficulties, Lt. Al Manaseer believes that the sense of communal duty that drives her work overshadows any challenges that she faces. “I look to the future with hope and call upon women to reject violence by boldly pursuing their legal rights with support from the FPD.” Her motivation is made even stronger by the support she receives from her family and her colleagues at the department.
Throughout her 13-years of service, Lt. Al-Manaseer has remained committed to her role within the FPD and continues to promote the key role women play in building peaceful and resilient communities, “Women’s participation in the security sector has become essential and offers a unique perspective on core issues that is much needed for long-term development, which will allow this sector to evolve beyond conventional solutions and adopt new and innovative solutions to persistent problems.”
Within the framework of Jordan’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (JONAP), PSD and FPD are working in close collaboration with UN Women to promote gender-sensitive response operations and ensure the needs of vulnerable women and girls’ are consistently met throughout and beyond the COVID-19 response. With the generous support of the Governments of Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom, a dedicated pocked guide has been developed to help PSD and FPD officers like Lt. Al-Manaseer in their responses to gender-based violence incidents reports during COVID-19.